How to Bury Your Garden Hose Underground

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Last updatedLast updated: March 12, 2021
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The demand for garden hoses is on the rise. Many people carry hoses around their yard to water various plants and their lawn. But, this can be a frustrating task because you can trip over the hose, damage it and the coverage isn’t as efficient as it could be. For this reason, many homeowners install an underground hose to carry the water throughout their yard. This may seem simple, but there are some things that you need to be aware of before you make a final decision. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of an underground water hose and the installation considerations in more detail.

Why bury a garden hose?

Many people wonder how to bury a garden hose underground because there are four key benefits, they are:

The Hose is protected

Even if you purchase the best rubber garden hose it can still be susceptible to damage from a variety of sources. When a hose is run along the surface of the ground it’s exposed to temperature extremes that can cause cracks in summer and freezing damage in winter. UV exposure can degrade even high-quality rubber materials quickly and it makes sense to protect them.

Avoiding puncture damage

How to Bury Your Garden Hose UndergroundAny rubber or metal hose can be damaged with a puncture from a number of sources. If you have a drive-on lawnmower or other vehicles operating in your yard this risk is intensified. When a hose is punctured it can be cut and reconnected but this shortens the hose making it less versatile in the long term.

Carrying hoses

Even the best lightweight garden hose can be a hassle to carry around to the same locations repeatedly. If you have a larger yard or you live in a rural area with a few acres you will quickly grow tired of this situation. In these types of scenarios it would make good sense to install a waterline underground to make the process easier.

Winterization

We briefly touched on this problem earlier, but it’s important to realize that an underground irrigation hose is less likely to freeze in winter. If you live in an area with a mild winter climate, the surface can freeze, but the ground may not. This means that you can use your buried hose throughout the year without taking any special precautions. If the ground does freeze where you can install the waterline in a deeper trench or take other steps to mitigate this potential problem.

Which type of garden hose to choose?

Once you’ve decided to choose this route for water delivery the obvious next question is which is the best garden hose to bury under my yard? There are three materials to choose from and two additional aspects that you need to consider. Please bear in mind that you will have to dig trenches and install the hoses underground. This takes considerable effort; you don’t want to repeat the process for as long as possible. So, it makes good sense to set things up correctly to ensure that the system endures for a long time. Here are five materials and two other considerations that you need to take into account:

Polyurethane hoses

How to Bury Your Garden Hose UndergroundThese are tempting options because they are good quality and the better ones are extremely durable. Don’t confuse this material with a vinyl hose, they simply are not as good, they develop kinks easily and you can’t adjust them when they are buried.

Rubber hoses

Rubber is a fantastic material, it’s a good option for a hose that you want to bury underground because it’s durable and long lasting. A rubber hose is less susceptible to kinks when laid correctly and you can equip high quality hardware on the ends of the hose.

Metal hoses

Investing in the best metal garden hose that you can afford makes good sense if you have the available budget. Metal hoses can resist ground pressure and shifts that can crush lesser hoses and they have a longer lifespan.

Weatherproofing

Make sure that your garden hose can resist temperature extremes that may still be encountered at the depth of your trench. This will reduce the chances of cracks and breaks due to freezing and UV damage where the hoses connect to the surface.

Large diameter

Always use a larger diameter underground sprinkler hose for this type of system. Most homeowners install a system like this because they don’t want to run a hose for long distances that may lower the water pressure. If you install a garden hose with a ½” or ⅝” diameter you will not encounter water pressure issues.

What you’ll need

Here are the tools and materials that you will need to create your underground waterline:

The Tools

  1. Shovel
  2. Backhoe
  3. Rake
  4. Screwdriver
  5. Hacksaw
  6. Propane torch

The Materials

  1. 1” plastic well pipe
  2. 1” well pipe fittings
  3. One hose bib for each hydrant
  4. One combination tee for each hydrant and water outlet
  5. Clamps to secure the well pipe fittings
  6. ¾” exterior plywood
  7. A pair of 1 ft. sq. concrete tiles for each hydrant

 How to bury a garden hose the right way

How to Bury Your Garden Hose UndergroundThere are a couple of ways to tackle this project, you could dig the trenches and add the pipes at the same time or work on it a section at a time. Building by sections is less messy, but many people prefer to get all the digging out of the way first. There is no right or wrong way to approach the work, just pick the method that suits how you like to work. Whichever option you choose the installation process can be broken down into five easy to follow steps:

Step 1: Create the Trench

Before you can install an underground soaker hose you need to locate the hydrants around a foot down into the ground. This will not guarantee that the pipe will not freeze in every climate, so if you live in an area that is susceptible to ground freezing you may have to go deeper.

If you live in a mild climate you can even avoid dipping to a foot to reduce the amount of digging required. However, if you want to install the hose bib underground to reduce the amount of disruption of the surface you need at least one foot of depth.
This can be a lot of work with a long trench and the work can be hard if you have rock soil. If you have a lot of trench to dig it may be a good idea to look at hiring a special dipper to install the trench. Start by scraping off the turf, remove surface rocks and set aside anything you don’t want back into the trench for disposal. Once the trench is dug, level the surface off to accommodate your hose.

Step 2: Installing the Pipes and Fittings

Roll out the pipe, place it in the trench and weigh it down with some smooth rocks or other heavy items that will not puncture the hose. If you work from the water source outwards you will find this process goes easier. Throughout the pipe length of the pipe you will need to install the valves and faucets where you can place a hydrant to access the water. This is where you will install a combination tee with a pair of 1” connectors to attach to the pipe and a ¾” hose bib thread. Installing the tee can be tricky, you can soften the rubber with a propane torch put be careful to avoid burning the pipe. Once the connector is installed put a hose clamp on it to keep it secure. The screw in the hose bib, make sure it’s orientated correctly and install it at a depth of 1 foot. This whole assembly will be placed under a hatch and you can perform pressure tests as you proceed.

Step 3: Creating the Hydrant Enclosures

This is simply a hole to house the hose bib with a hatch to cover the opening to improve safety. Leave a small gap to attach the hose and cover the hole with the cement tiles. You can add an exterior plywood cover with an opening for the hose with a lip to hold the plywood in place on top of the cement tiles. This may sound complicated but you can experiment with the cover system to get something that works for your needs.

Step 4: Fill the Trench

Avoid placing large sharp rocks back in the trench to make this process easier and to protect your new waterline. Start by using a heavy-duty hoe to move the soil back in the trench. If you had to move out a lot of rocks you may discover that you cannot refill the trench with the soil that you have. It may be necessary to haul in some extra soil to make up the difference and fill the trench. Once the trench is filled you can place the turf on top and it will grow back eventually to create an even surface. Be careful around your new hydrants, don’t fill these areas, you need to have them free to attach your hoses later. If you’re working in sections you can fill around the hydrants as you go. If you’re doing the entire trench at one time simply cap the pipe ends where you need a hydrant and finish them later. If you’ve done a great job you won’t see any trace of a trench on the surface after a few months. The turf will grow back and only your homemade hatch covers will be visible.

Step 5: Using the Waterline

During the winter months the underground hose reel and pipes may freeze so it’s a good idea to shut-off the water entirely. You can remove any excess water by blowing out the pipe with a few bursts of compressed air. If you live in a moderate climate and your trench is closer to the surface you can even open up the hatches and hydrants to clear the water. Gradually, you may notice that the ground settles, this soil level adjustment may cause some sagging along the length of your underground waterline. So, you may need to add more soil later to fill these gaps.

It may be necessary to adjust the hydrants when the soil has set and the exterior plywood may need replacing every few years.

Drawbacks of burying a garden hose

There are two main drawbacks to burying your garden hose that you need to consider, they are:

  1. Rodents: Some rodents, such as: rats, voles, moles and squirrels can be attracted to underground water sources. Unfortunately they have a tendency to gnaw through hoses to puncture the surface and get access to your water. This can be prevented if you invest in a metal hose system.
  2. Soil Complications: If you have heavy clay, rock or compacted soil it can be extremely difficult to dig a long trench down to a depth of one foot or more. Even a basic surface trench in an area with a very mild climate needs to be at least 3” or 4” deep. Under these conditions even a shallow trench would be virtually impossible to dig with basic hand tools,

Final thoughts

As you can see, installing an underground hose can be a little complex but it is well within the capabilities of a person with good DIY skills. When you want to use your new underground waterline it’s a great idea to install the best garden hose quick connect system that you can reasonably afford. This will make it easier to quickly connect and disconnect your hoses for a wide variety of tasks, including: watering, cleaning, car washing and more. Placing a waterline underground may be a significant task but it can make your life far easier if you have a large yard or garden.

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