How to Make a Drip System Out of a Bucket

Use a 5 gallon bucket to make a drip system.
Use a 5 gallon bucket to make a drip system. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Making your own bucket drip-irrigation system is a low-cost method providing water to garden plants. The finished system collects rainwater and directs it underground toward the plants' roots. Choosing a dark-colored bucket limits the amount of sunlight permeating the container and lowers algae growth.

Things You'll Need

  • 5 gallon bucket
  • Drip irrigation line
  • Female end fitting with a screen end
  • Plastic sealing compound
  • Sharp knife
  • Pliers
  • Hose clamp
  • Screwdriver
  • Microtubing with weights, optional
  • Cut-off valve, optional

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Drill a hole into the side of the bucket, approximately 1 inch from the bottom edge. Make the hole slightly smaller than the diameter of the drip line so the tube fits snug when thread through the hole. Use a 3/16-inch drill bit for ¼-inch diameter tubing.

Thread one end of the drip line tube through the hole so approximately 1/8 inch of tube is inside the bucket. Fit the screened female end fitting into the inside bucket hole so the shoulder fitting is next to the bucket wall.

Apply a plastic sealing compound around the outside edge of the hole to prevent leaking. Let the sealer dry completely before using the bucket to hole water.

Crimp over the end of the drip tubing with a pliers and tighten a hose clamp over top to close the tubing end.

Set the bucket on a large block next to the garden area so it is 6 to 12 inches higher than ground level. Run the tubing along the garden bed, in the desired area. Bury the tubing 2 to 3 inches into the soil.

Tips & Warnings

  • Place a microtubing emitter at the location of each plant if you want water directed at each plant. Before burying the tubing, punch a hole into the tubing in the desired location. Insert the emitter end into the tubing and run the attachment toward the plant. Bury the drip line and microtubing emitter under the soil.
  • Install a cut-off valve on the tubing near the bucket if you want to control the water flow. Cut the tubing 3 inches from the bucket and clamp the cut-off valve between each cut end.


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