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Getting Started,  Irrigation,  Plan - Design - DIY,  Raised Garden Beds

Easy Raised Bed Drip Irrigation (from Faucet or Spigot)

Last Updated on August 10, 2023

Tired of watering your garden by hand, or using other inefficient water methods? Come learn how to install an easy DIY raised bed drip irrigation system instead! This system connects right to a nearby spigot or faucet. It’s simple, straightforward, and will save you tons of time, energy and water! It’s also easily automated with the use of an optional hose timer.

This guide will walk you through how to install a simple drip irrigation system for raised garden beds. Video and photos are included. We installed this drip system to irrigate our large grow bag garden, yet it’s perfectly suited for traditional wood garden beds, metal raised bed kits, in-ground garden plots, and more! 

Last year, I also shared a tutorial on how we installed drip irrigation in our wood raised beds using drip tape, PVC pipe, and automated valves. We love that option too, but the system I’ll show you today is even easier to set up. Zero plumbing skills are required! It’s also a little less permanent in nature – enabling you to easily disconnect or store your irrigation system during the winter if needed. (Though you could also connect this type of drip system to hard pipe and valves too.)

A number of large 100-150 gallon grow bags are arranged on top of landscape fabric. They are all connected to 1/2 inch drip tubing lines and each has various sized calendula plants growing in them..
This tutorial will show you how we set up drip irrigation for large grow bags. This is our “calendula farm”, where we grow calendula and chamomile to make healing body salves and face oil for our shop.
Metal raised beds are aligned along a fence, berry bushes are growing in the raised beds along with some flowers. Two rows of brown dripline are running lengthwise, spread equally in width along the raised beds.
Yet we’ve used the same style drip system in a metal raised garden beds too! These are Birdies raised beds, and code deannacat3 saves 5%.

In this article you will find:

  • A list of supplies needed to make a simple raised bed drip irrigation system that connects to an outdoor faucet or tap. 
  • A YouTube tutorial that shows the step-by-step process.
  • A written summary of the steps shown in the video, with photos for quick and easy reference.
  • We’ll also talk about water pressure, winterizing, and how long to run raised bed drip irrigation systems.

A note on our grow bags: We have both 100-gallon and 150-gallon grow bags in our “calendula farm”. Unfortunately our exact bags are no longer available, but this is another well-rated option with similar dimensions and specs.

A birds eye view of the supplies needed for the raised bed drip irrigation system. The name of each item has been superimposed onto the image, next to the item. 1/4 inch dripline, faucet time, faucet to drip adapter, end clamps, 1/4 inch couplers and goof plugs, hole punch, 1/2 inch tee and elbow couplers, 1/2 inch drip tubing, landscape pins, and optional hose splitter.

Supplies Needed for an Easy Raised Bed Drip Irrigation System

We get almost all of our drip irrigation supplies from Drip Depot. They’re fantastic! The affiliate links found in this article gives us a small commission at no cost to you. We greatly appreciate your support, which enables us to share tutorials like this with you!

  1. A nearby hose tap (spigot or faucet). For the best results and pressure, choose a tap that’s within 50 feet or closer from the raised beds. See pressure notes to follow. It’s usually not all that difficult or expensive to have a new faucet installed closer to your beds if needed!

  2. A 4-in-1 faucet adapter, which is specifically designed to connect drip irrigation to a hose tap. It comes with all the parts you need (that you can also buy separately): 1) a filter to prevent sediment from entering and clogging the drip system, 2) a backflow preventer to protect your drinking water supply from contamination, 3) a pressure regulator (drip systems need to operate at 20 to 30 PSI), and 4) a coupler/adapter that the ½” drip irrigation tubing connects to.

  3. Standard ½ inch irrigation tubing, which is commonly available in 100 foot rolls. For larger projects, consider 250 foot rolls or a 500 foot roll if necessary. This tubing will create the bulk of your easy raised bed drip irrigation system. Get enough tubing to run from the tap, between the beds, up the sides of the beds, and also to create the “header” inside each bed”.  
  1. ¼” dripline tubing, which comes with pre-installed drip emitters. You’ll need enough to run several lines down the length (longest side) of each raised bed – explained more in the “header assembly” section to follow. For example, one 4×8’ raised bed with 4 rows of dripline will require about 32 feet of dripline tubing.

    Note that drip tubing comes in various flow rates and emitter spacing. For this project, we chose drip tubing that has ½ gallon per hour emitters every 6 inches, and space the rows of dripline every 8 or 9 inches across the bed. I find that 6-inch spacing provides nice even saturation and allows for flexible planting throughout the raised beds.

A close up of 1/4 inch brown dripline, showing the drip emitter that is embedded in the line.
1/4″ dripline tubing, which had emitters already installed within the line at a set spacing

  1. ¼” barbed couplers to connect the ¼” drip tubing to the ½” main line tubing headers.

  2. A punch tool, used to add holes and attach the drip tubing to the ½” black supply line.

  3. Figure 8 clamps to end the main ½” lines. You’ll need one for each header, and possibly more to end other lines in your system – depending on the layout.

  4. Goof plugs, to end/cap each of the ¼” drip tubing lines. These can also be used to plug unwanted holes in the 1/2″ tubing.

  5. Various ½” couplers (including tees and elbows), used to run ½” tubing line between and up the sides of your raised beds. This varies depending on your system layout. I suggest drawing out your system to determine how many couplers you’ll need. We prefer to use PermaLoc couplers over compression fittings. They’re durable and reusable, making it easy to make adjustments or repairs! On the other hand, compression fittings are more permanent and tubing must be cut to make changes. 
  1. Galvanized landscape staples to hold the drip line in place.

  2.  Scissors to cut the drip tubing. I also find pliers are helpful when working with the ¼” couplers. 

A graphic showing each piece of a drip irrigation faucet adapter and the order in which it is put together. From the water source to backflow preventer, mesh filter, 25 psi regulator, adapter, to 1/2 inch drip tubing.
A 4-in-1 faucet adapter makes it a breeze to connect drip irrigation to a spigot.

Optional Supplies

  • A battery-operated faucet timer to easily automate your raised bed drip irrigation system. In this particular project, we used a 2-outlet hose timer (what we already had on hand) that can be used to connect two drip lines to a single tap. Or, you can use a single outlet hose timer. They even make 3-outlet timers for systems with 3 zones. We’ve been using these timers for years and they still work perfectly! I haven’t even had to change batteries on some that have been running for two years.

  • Shut-off valves for each bed. Install one of these simple on/off valves in the header or riser of each raised bed for the utmost control! That way, you can turn off the water to certain beds if some are in use while others are not. Or, turn the valve halfway to restrict/reduce water flow to beds that have less water demand than others (e.g. for drought tolerant crops like peppers). We skipped this option in this particular project, but did install individual valves on each raised bed in our main garden space.

  • A hose splitter or Y-valve. With this, you can connect the drip irrigation system to a faucet (on one side of the splitter) while also still maintaining a free outlet to use a garden hose, fill watering cans, etc.

Drip Irrigation System Layout and Pressure 

It’s best to not surpass 100 to 200 feet of solid ½” irrigation tubing (the main line that runs from the tap and between beds). Otherwise, your raised bed drip irrigation system may not have adequate pressure towards the far end of the lines. 

For very large areas (where more than 200+ feet of line is needed), it’s best to split the system into separate zones or shorter lines that will run at different times if possible. For instance, from two different taps, or with two separate lines using a 2-outlet hose timer. This is also helpful if you have various beds/areas with different water needs.

Drip components are designed to operate under 20 to 30 PSI. It’s usually necessary to use a pressure regulator in drip irrigation systems because high pressure can “blow out” sensitive drip parts. Normal house water pressure can be as high as 80 PSI. 

Yet if pressure seems too low in your raised bed drip system (and your house/tap pressure isn’t crazy high), you could experiment with NOT using a pressure reducer at the tap. When in doubt, use a hose thread pressure gauge at the tap you’re connecting the system to to assess the pressure starting point. Then you can simply unscrew and remove the pressure reducer component from the 4-in-1 adapter if needed.

Nine large grow bags of 100-150 gallons in size are sitting atop black landscape fabric. Each grow bag has a main irrigation header with brown drip line along with 1/2 inch tubing running along each line of grow bags to supply the water. A blue line has been superimposed over the section of 1/2 inch drip tubing showing where the main lines are laid.
Our newest drip system layout, with about 90-100 feet of 1/2″ tubing.

How far should I space drip lines in raised garden beds?

It’s best to space drip irrigation lines in raised garden beds every 6 to 12 inches – and no wider than 12” apart. 

For example, in our 4×8’ raised garden beds, we installed rows of dripline every 9 inches evenly across the bed – or four lines total per bed. With emitters every 6” along the lines, this provides a nice even distribution of water that saturates the entire bed, allowing us to plant along the drip lines or in between. This is especially helpful for closely-spaced plantings like root veggies.

After all, one of the many benefits of growing in raised beds is that you don’t have to follow rigid row planting, unlike traditional field row crops. Plus, the more damp soil there is around, the more the worms, nematodes, and beneficial microbes will thrive! Last but not least, watering in a wide swath around plants (as opposed to directly at their base only) encourages roots to explore, growing larger and wider. That leads to bigger, healthier plants! 

A birds eye view of the top of a large grow bag with the drip irrigation system set up. A number of small calendula seedlings are spaced throughout the bed.
Rows of 1/4″ dripline spaced every 8 to 9 inches in the large grow bags….
A birds eye view of a raised garden bed outfitted with drip tape irrigation. There are four lines, evenly spaced, young tender seedlings are growing throughout the raised bed.
…and drip tape lines spaced every 8-9 inches in our 4×8′ raised beds.
Half inch black drip tubing is running along the outside of a metal raised bed, the tubing has a tee at the bottom with a section of tubing running upwards toward the top of the bed where it meets a header made out of half inch drip tubing. From there, two separate brown driplines are running off of the main header, spaced equally apart to irrigate the raised bed fully.
In our 2-foot wide Birdies raised beds, we only added two rows of drip line – also spaced about 8 to 9 inches apart.

How to Install an Easy Raised Bed Drip Irrigation System

Step 1: Assemble Headers with Drip Lines

Each raised garden bed or planter needs a “header”. The headers are made with ½” solid tubing that sits inside one of the short ends of the bed, where the smaller dripline tubing connects to. 

If you’re installing drip irrigation in multiple raised garden beds of the same size, I find it’s easiest to make just one header in or near the garden bed to figure out the size and spacing. Take note of the measurements, and then use that header as a guide or prototype to pre-assemble the remaining headers in a clean work space. (Such as a concrete patio or large table.) That way, there is less risk of getting soil inside the parts as you work – which can clog your emitters! Assembling the headers first also makes the rest of the system install very quick and easy.

A birds eye view of a completed header assembly with 1/2 inch drip tubing as the main header, with five lines of 1/4 inch dripline attached evenly throughout the header length. "1/4" driupline down length of bed" and "1/2" tubing along shorter end of bed" superimposed along each section of the assembly.

Header Assembly

  • Measure and cut the solid 1/2″ solid tubing to fit inside one short end of your raised bed. If you’re using figure 8 end clamps to end the line, leave a couple extra inches to fold over.

  • Cap one end of the header line with a figure 8 clamp or other end cap.

  • The other end of the header will receive water from the main supply line and riser. The design of your header connection will vary depending on your system layout. We added an elbow (90°) PermaLoc adapter to one end of our header, which connects to a riser that runs up the outside of the bed. See photos below.

  • Measure and cut ¼” drip tubing lines. Make them long enough to run the length of the bed and connect into the header.

  • Measure and/or mark where you want each row of drip tubing to attach to the ½” header, spaced evenly across the bed (between 6 to 12 inches apart).

  • Use a punch tool to create holes in the main header tubing. Be sure the holes are all facing the same direction so the drip tubing will lay flat on the soil surface.

  • Attach drip tubing to the header. Insert a ¼” barbed coupler into one end of the ¼” drip tubing. Then push the other end of the barb into the header tubing.

  • Finally, cap/end each ¼” drip tubing line with a goof plug. 

A birds eye view of the header assembly parts. Each part is arranged where it will connect. A hole punch, pliers, 1/2 inch tubing, an elbow, 5 lines of 1/4 inch dripline, barbed adapters, figure 8 hose end clamp, and goof plugs will be used to create the system.
The 1/4″ dripline will be much longer than ours for most raised beds
A four way image collage showing the process of attaching dripline to drip tubing. The first image shows a drip hole punch being used to punch a hole in the 1/2 inch tubing. The second image shows a pair of pliers being used to connect the 1/4 inch dripline to the 1/2 inch tubing via a barbed coupler. The third image shows a close up of 1/4 dripline attached to the barbed coupler, inserted into the  1/2 inch drip tubing. The fourth image shows the goof plug being inserted into the end of the 1/4 inch dripline to end the line.
Punch a hole in the header, then use 1/4″ barbed couplers to connect the dripline tubing. Plug the end with a goof plug.

Step 2: Connect Drip Line to Tap

  • Optional: To easily automate the raised bed drip irrigation system, add a simple faucet timer to the tap first. You can also add a hose splitter before the timer, leaving one side of the tap free for other things.

  • Next, screw on the 4-in-1 faucet to drip adapter.

  • Connect the ½” drip tubing to the coupler at the end of the adapter.

A two part image collage, the first image shows a hose end timer connected to a faucet with a 4-in-1 adapter attached to one of the outlets on the timer. The second image shows the 1/2 inch drip tubing being brought towards the 4-in-1 adapter to connect it to the system.

Step 3: Run Drip Line Between Beds

  • Run the ½” main line from the hose tap or faucet to the raised garden beds. Use tees, elbows or other couplers to create rows between beds as needed.

  • Each bed will need a point of connection and riser. Cut into the main line near the bed, insert a tee or elbow (depending on the layout of your lines), and add another piece of ½” tubing up the side of the raised bed. Another option is to hide the riser by running it under and inside the garden bed.

  • Optional: Add a shut-off valve for each bed, explained in the supplies section above. The valve can be installed along the riser, or as part of your header.

  • It is okay to cover or bury the ½” mainline drip tubing in several inches of mulch, bark, soil, gravel, or other cover.

  • Leave the very ends of the lines open for now (not capped) so you can flush the lines before adding the drip components. 

A faucet spigot with a hose end timer is connected to 1/2 inch drip tubing which is being run through a trench in mulch to connect an irrigation system beyond.
Running the main drip tubing from the tap to the raised bed area (just beyond the black fence)
DeannaCat is holding 1/2 inch drip tubing connected to a tee with a piece of drip tubing next to it that will connect to the tee. An elbow is point downwards from the top of the grow bag that will attach to the tee via  a piece of 1/2 inch drip tubing to connect the system.
Creating the the point of connection for the riser and header.
An image graphic showing various raised bed drip irrigation assemblies using a variety of different parts for different purposes.
In this example, Drip Depot shows the main line away from the raised beds, using a 90° elbow to go up the side of each bed. See our slightly different layout in the photos below.

Step 4: Install and Connect Headers

Before adding the headers to your raised beds, flush the main lines to remove any potential debris that could clog emitters. Simply turn the water on and let it run freely out of the end of the lines for a minute or so. 

After flushing the lines, connect the headers to the risers you’ve added to each raised bed. Tuck the header inside the short end of the bed and attach it to the riser. Secure it in place with landscape staples or pins. Next, position the drip tubing lines evenly down the length of the bed and pin them in place too. 

1/2 inch drip tubing is running along the side of a grow bag and up the bag  to supply some raised bed drip irrigation. Mature calendula plants are growing, a variety of yellow, orange, and pink flowers are growing from the plants.
We kept our main line running right alongside the beds, then used tees to go up the side…
1/2 inch drip tubing is running along the side of a grow bag and up the bag , connecting to a header which contains 5 drip lines running the length of the grow bag. Some large calendula seedlings are growing in the bag.
For the last bed in each row, we use a 90° elbow coupler to connect the riser and end the line.
Nine large grow bags of 100-150 gallons in size are sitting atop black landscape fabric. Each grow bag has a main irrigation header with brown drip line along with 1/2 inch tubing running along each line of grow bags to supply the water.

Using the System

When you’re ready to use your new raised bed drip irrigation system, simply turn on the tap! If you’re using a hose timer, leave the main faucet ON at all times, set the timer, and it will let water into the lines per the schedule you specify. 

Once the system is set up, it’s easy to calculate water use and flow rate! Count the number of emitters per bed, then multiply that by the emitter flow rate. For example, each grow bag shown in this example has 28 emitters, and each emitter is rated for ½ gallon per hour. That means each grow bag would receive 14 gallons of water per hour the system runs. 

How long should I run my raised bed drip irrigation system?

It depends! Every garden has different water demands based on the unique climate, soil, season, temperatures and rainfall patterns. It also depends on your mulching practices, and how thirsty your plants are. Larger, mature plants generally “drink” more water than smaller ones. Soil protected with a nice 2 to 4″ layer of mulch will stay damp much longer than bare soil, greatly reducing water needs.

In general, it’s best to provide less frequent, deep, long watering as opposed to short shallow bouts of water every day. This will encourage deep healthy roots and stronger, more resilient plants. Try to water enough to keep the soil evenly moist at all times, but allow it to dry out ever-so-slightly between watering. Of course, you never want the soil to be totally dry! But remember that plants breathe through their roots – so the soil shouldn’t be constantly sopping wet either.

In our climate, we typically run our raised bed drip irrigation system for about 45 minutes, twice per week. The time you run your system will also vary depending on the type of emitters used. For instance, if we were using drip tubing with 0.25 gallon per hour emitters (instead of 0.5 GPH), we would run the system for twice as long.

When direct-sowing seeds, plan to provide additional overhead or hand-watering during the first few weeks. That will help keep the top of the soil nice and damp during germination and early root development.

A close up of brown drip line running along the soil next to a chamomile plant. Water is coming out of the predrilled emitters in the line.

Winterizing raised bed drip irrigation systems

As with all types of irrigation, it’s best to winterize your raised bed drip irrigation system before freezing conditions arrive. At minimum, thoroughly drain the system and protect it with a nice deep layer of mulch. Leaving standing water in pipes or valves can cause them to crack when the water freezes and expands. Or, to further reduce the risk of damage, folks in extremely cold climates may want to remove the drip irrigation components completely. Store your supplies in a protected location over winter, such as in a garage or similar.

DeannaCat is standing next to a number of large grow bags holding drip irrigation headers and supplies for raised bed drip irrigation.

Thanks for irrigating with me!

After reading this, I hope you feel empowered and prepared to go install an easy raised bed drip irrigation system of your own. Once you understand the basics of irrigation, the options are endless! You should be able to adjust and tweak things to create an ideal irrigation system for your garden or project. Please consider pinning or sharing this post if it was useful. Also feel free to ask any questions in the comments below. Thank you so much for tuning in today, and enjoy!

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DeannaCat signature, keep on growing


  • Karen

    I don’t think I have ever watched a better video that explains so clearly how to do something. You cover everything so thoroughly that I think even I can do this. Thank you for being the outstanding and trusted source for everything gardening and more!

    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Hi Karen, thank you so much for the kind words, it’s great to hear you found it so helpful and we appreciate your support!

  • Emelie


    Have you found the need to individually plug any of the emitters from the drip tape? If so does a goof plug work wel for that or maybe just duct tape?

    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Hi Emelie, we don’t plug pre drilled emitters on 1/4 inch dripline or the drip tape that we have inside our raised garden beds. If you are referring to the 1/2 inch drip tubing that you punch holes into to insert specific drip emitters into, then yes, we do add goof plugs into holes where emitters are no longer needed. Afterwards, turn on the irrigation to make sure it doesn’t leak where the goof plug was inserted, if it does leak, you can cut out that section of tubing and add a 1/2 inch compression coupler to replace that section of tubing. Hope that helps and reach out if you have any other questions.

  • Lauren

    Thanks for the awesome post! I saw you’ve used both 1/4″ tubing with emitters as well as drip tape with emitters in different places. Any thoughts you could add as to why you went with one vs the other in different locations would be a big help!

    I’ve used the 1/4″ tubing before, but considering drip tape for some new projects. I’d love to hear some of the considerations you had in mind when making this choice. Thanks for all the awesome resources!

    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Hi Lauren, we used drip tape in our raised bed garden as we had hard pipe PVC and risers for each bed and in our research found that the drip tape that we used, should be more reliable and longer lasting than the 1/4″ drip tubing. We used the 1/4″ drip tubing in the large grow bags as the beds are round and the drip tubing can be secured in a more rounded shape compared to drip tape. It is also much easier to use 1/4″ drip tubing if your water source is coming straight from a faucet with a hose end timer and drip adapter that connects to 1/2 inch drip tubing. To use drip tape, the pressure needs to be reduced to at least 15 PSI and if you do that at the water source, you may lose too much pressure before it gets to your beds that you want to water. Hence why we chose to use a 15 PSI pressure regulator in each raised bed in our garden, we wanted enough pressure to reach each bed from the main water source before the pressure was regulated at each bed for the drip tape irrigation to function properly. Hope that helps and reach out if you have any other questions, good luck!

  • Marisa

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a detailed article and including a video too. Both the article and video empowered me to be able to install a drip system to my garden beds on my own. With zero experience in irrigation, it’s been such an intimidating project that I’ve been putting off for years. The step by step process was so easy to follow and replicate in my own garden, especially with the list of reccomended items. It’s only been a few days since I’ve had my system set up but it’s such a game changer. Looking forward to seeing how this impacts my summer crops this year. Thanks again!

    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Hi Marisa, that is so great to hear you felt empowered by the video and article and were able to convert your garden to drip irrigation! You will most likely see much more consistent moisture using drip, you and your garden should love it, thanks for sharing your experience and have fun growing!

  • Maria

    This is perfect for us fabric bed gardeners with simpler wants, thank you, I’m going to do it!

    Also, what do you have under your fabric beds? I need that so much! I’m having to redo all my fabric beds because I was drawing water to the site, which meant neighboring tree roots sprouted saplings, weeds became an issue, neighbor’s invasive ivy moved in, etc. Having a good light blocking barrier is what I need in a big way, would you please share the information? Thank you So much!

    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Hi Maria, it is heavy duty landscaping fabric, I think the brand is DeWitt and it is non-woven 4 or 5 ounce landscape fabric. We really should cover the surrounding area with bark mulch but the area is more for growing flowers to be made into face oil or salve for our shop than it is for aesthetics. Hope that helps and good luck reworking your space!

  • Amanda Cassiday

    This is just what I was hoping to do with my garden bed, thank you! I am hoping to attach a drip irrigation system like this to a rain water barrel. Do you think the PSI naturally coming out of the rain barrel will be enough to power the drip irrigation?

    • Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)

      Hi Amanda, unfortunately the pressure coming out of a rain barrel is likely not sufficient enough to irrigate with a drip system. If you had a large rain tank (1,000 gallons or more) and used a pump that produced at least 20 psi to provide enough pressure to your drip irrigation system, you could likely use the two together. However, you would also need to get regular rainfall throughout the year to keep your rain tank full or else you would likely run out of water depending on your irrigation needs. Hope that helps and good luck!

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