I had a problem. I wanted to spend huge chunks of time at this cabin this summer, but I also wanted not kill my window boxes and lawn due to lack of watering. What’s a girl to do? A few years back I had set up a timer to our spigot. The timer was capable of having two different zones, so I ran a hose to the front and back yard and had set the timer to water daily for 10 minutes early in the morning. It worked, sorta. I mean, who doesn’t like to water their yard when it’s raining?
It was a good first step towards not worrying about my garden while chillin’ and enjoying the summer the cabin. This year I got smart and I found a smart watering system – see what I did there with the word play on “smart”. Pretty funny, right? Okay, nevermind, don’t hate me.
What I’m trying to tell you is that I got a smart watering system that I hook up to my spigot, my window box and lawn get watered! AND, if it rains, the smart watering valve begins a 24 hour rain delay. So smart, right?
The Set Up
b-hyves & spigot splitter
This is what the system looks like. I purchased a four-way splitter valve to start things off. I wanted a hose for window boxes, one for the front yard, another for the backyard and a free spigot for when I feel like filling up my watering can. Attached to three of the outlets is a b-hyve smart watering valve. The valve runs on two AA batteries and connects wirelessly to a hub. The hub comes with a b-hyve and then additional b-hyves can be purchased separately. The other “hyve’s” can be connected to a single hub. The hub is a small card (think 1.5″ x 3″) that is plugged into an outlet. Our hub is plugged into an interior outlet hidden behind a curtain.
Setup is straightforward and easy. Once all your hubs are connected you download the b-hyve app and follow the instructions. The app controls each hyve and you can set specific watering restrictions or timer intervals for each zone. You can even override the app and water remotely. This gave me peace of mind for those days that were really super hot, I could set remotely water my garden from the cabin! The app is not the most intuitive piece of tech I’ve ever used, but I hope as it gets updated, it gets easier to operate. To control a b-hyve, you need to basically log-in and log-out of hyves and then change the zone setting, which doesn’t make any sense to me. The app connects to local weather and will enable rain delays if there is precipitation forecasted. No overwatering!
Smart Watering Must Have’s
I wanted more than smart timers though, I wanted to know that my window boxes were being taken care of. I invest so much actual money into my annuals every year, I’d hate to pull up after a week at the cabin and see them all dried up. This was the year that I was going to try drip irrigation for my window boxes. Drip irrigation allows soil and plants to get watered through a small hose and tiny spigots that slowly drip water. It was such a inexpensive and worthwhile addition to watering central. The internet was not very helpful in telling me if one drip system was better than the other, so I just closed my eyes and clicked on one. I ordered something that looked like it had all the parts I needed, and it did – probably too many even. I saved the extras in case I decide to add onto the system next year. I wanted to share with ya how easy it is to set up a system like this. All it takes is a scissors and some hot water. Okay, here goes.
Drip Irrigation Line
loosen the hose
I cut a two foot section of hose off from the end of the end of the line so I could use it to build my spigots. Each spigot requires about 2″ of hose. To loosen the hose up so that it can accept the dividers and spigot head place the end of the hose in some hot tap water for about 30 seconds.
connect the ‘t’ and drip emitter
Now that your two inches of hose line is loosened up, connect it to the middle of the ‘t’ and connect the other end to the tiny red drip emitter. Repeat for the desired amount of drip emitters you will need.
snip hose to install a drip emitter
Lay out the remaining drip line (from what you had cut in the first step). I laid out the entire drip line hose and made sure that the hose was in the right position. Once the location of the hose was determined, I went ahead and started cutting the line where I wanted the drip emitters to be. I placed my drip emitters about a foot apart from one another.
connect the drip emitter to the line
Now you’ll attach the pre-assembled drip emitters to the locations you had snipped in the line. You’ll need to warm up the cut ends with hot water so that it can accept the pronged ends of the ‘t’ and drip emitter.
position drip emitters and adjust water flow
The kit comes with little stakes that you can recess into the soil. The stakes elevate the drip emitters so that they don’t get clogged with mud and debris. Connect the hose to your outdoor spigot to test the system. Each drip emitter nozzle can be adjusted by turning the emitter. This helps to evenly spread the flow of the water down the line.
Look at that! A smart drip irrigation system. Now they just need to invent a smart weeder and everything would be great. Come back to this post next summer, I promise you need to try this, and you you’ll love having automated smart watering!
They do make little weeding roombas. I doubt they’re very effective, but they are hilarious to me.
Oh my god. I had no idea. It’s so cute!
This is amazing, thank you for sharing! I’ve been wondering about implementing this myself for a few years. A few questions for you – would this work with in-ground garden beds as well? And then for your front and back lawns, what’s your watering process there? Do you just leave the sprinklers set up? Oscillating or pulsating? Sorry for the question spam!
Hey Stefan, Yes I believe it would work for in ground garden beds, or raised beds, or anywhere you need watering. What I’d really like is for there to be a moisture meter component so that the system would slow down watering if the soil began to get too saturated. Or maybe that’s a thing? I haven’t been able to find it, but I think it would really round out the system.
I do leave our sprinklers out in the yard all the time, and then just move them out of the way to mow. In the backyard we have a larger swath of lawn and the flower gardens on either side, so I use the oscillating sprinkler to reach the entire yard and gardens. In the front, I use two “spinner” sprinklers (which I added to the “smart watering must haves” above). Our front lawn is made up of two sections divided by our front walkway, the sprinklers can be connected so I run a hose between the two sprinklers and they go on at the same time. The second sprinkler down the hose line doesn’t get as much water to it, but it’s enough for the lawn to get watered and I don’t have to worry about watering the sidewalk. It’s my poor-(wo)man’s irrigation system.
Do you have your window boxes connected somehow? I have a similar layout, window boxes on both sides of my front door. Did you just run one of those small tubes across the front door?
Yes, Melanie, I do! Since this was the first year I just ran the drip line under the front porch door and taped it into place using duct tape that matched the color of my house. Next year I’ll probably install a channel (similar to what people use for hiding wires) under the door and paint it to match.
What are the black purple plants in the images?? I love them!!