If you are on a tight budget and looking for a simple way to automatically water your garden or lawn, I found an inexpensive and easy to use device that has worked for me like a charm. I realize this is not an epiphany for many people. Lots of homeowners have been using some form of automated irrigation systems in their yards for years.
For me, however, learning that I could get this one simple gadget, hook it to my existing hose and sprinkler, and take my daily watering routine from “chore” to “afterthought” has made all the difference.
If are looking for simple, inexpensive, and effective, then read on to learn how you can put your watering schedule on autopilot.
Automatic Watering: Discovered Out Of Necessity
Early this spring, my wife decided she wanted a flower bed in our front yard. Despite the heavy clay soil, the plants are doing well. When we planned a family trip to Florida for a week, however, I was concerned that a lack of watering would result in a sad return home for her.
The hot Texas sun plays havoc on newly planted flowers, especially when the clay soil dries out.
I guess I’ve been living under a rock all of these years but I never considered automatic watering solutions. Maybe I had secretly wanted plants to die so that I wouldn’t have to take care of them?
After spending a bunch of money and effort on this flowerbed, I wasn’t about to let that happen!
I did some research online and studied several irrigation solutions for lawns, gardens, and flower beds. While there are a ton of options including drip irrigation systems and in-ground sprinklers, I was short on time and really just wanted a simple solution to my problem.
After reading countless reviews and admittedly procrastinating on this purchase more than was necessary, I finally went on Amazon and purchased a Programmable Outdoor Faucet Timer.
The brand I chose was Orbit but they all seem to offer similar functionality. Essentially, they provide a way to have a sprinkler or drip hose automatically turn on and off on a schedule.
I’ll walk you through the features and setup for the Orbit and how I used it to ensure proper watering of my wife’s flower bed while we were away.
Easy Setup For Automatic Watering
The timer comes with a simple instruction pamphlet. Really more of a fold-out. You can view the instruction pamphlet by clicking here.
After inserting a couple of AA batteries, the first step is to set the clock. You simply turn the dial on the front to SET CLOCK and use the + and – buttons to adjust the digital display to show the current time.
Next, turn the dial to START TIME and set a time for the device to begin watering. I set mine for 7am. You set the start time the same way as you set the clock, using the + and – buttons.
With the START TIME ready, dial over to HOW LONG and use the buttons to set the amount of time you want the water to flow.
This is the part I was really excited about and didn’t quite realize until I had the device in my hands. By turning the dial to HOW OFTEN, you can choose to water multiple times per day!
You can choose to have it water every 6 hours, every 12 hours, daily, every two days, all the way to every seven days! So, instead of saturating the ground every morning with 20 minutes of watering to get it through the day, you could have it turn on for 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening. Brilliant!
Once you have these settings ready, all that’s left to do is to hook it to your faucet, attach the water hose, and let it do it’s thing. Turn the dial to AUTO and the timer will take over from there.
I’ll admit that I am a little untrusting by nature and made sure that it was working for a couple of days before we left for vacation. I didn’t want any surprises when I returned so I set an alarm on my phone to make sure it was turning on and off as scheduled. It works like a charm!
The timer reliably turns the water on and off at the set times every day.
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The longterm solution for me will be to install some irrigation tubing in the flower bed and connect it to this timer so that I don’t have to worry about moving the water hose around when I mow. For now, however, this simple and inexpensive DIY solution is doing what I need it to do and there is no urgency to buy anything else. I’m pretty satisfied.
Rain Delay Feature
A nifty feature of this timer is the Rain Delay option. With the timer set to AUTO, you can press the + button to delay scheduled watering for 24, 48, or 72 hours. This is really handy when the forecast calls for rain.
Admittedly, in Southeast Texas, this is not a huge issue in the summertime. We are usually praying for rain. Still, having this feature will be great in the spring and fall. Of course, if you have clay soil as I do, make sure that your garden or flower bed has sufficient draining.
Automated Irrigation Means Worry-Free Care Of Garden, Flowers, or Lawn
I have been very pleased with the reliability and performance of this programmable outdoor faucet timer. Having this one chore off my mind has meant a burden off my shoulders.
The last thing I want to do is dig up dead flowers and plant new ones. It wasn’t that much fun the first time my wife had me plant them!
If you are needing a simple and reliable automatic watering solution for your garden, flowerbed, or lawn, a programmable outdoor faucet timer may be just the thing that you are looking for.
You don’t have to go with the Orbit model I chose. There are plenty of good brands out there. Compare the features and choose the one that meets your needs.
You can explore the options available from amazon by clicking here.
If you have a clay soil lawn be sure to read our guide on How To Improve Clay Soil Without Tilling.