Many homeowners find themselves lugging hoses all over the backyard to reach different parts of the yard. In my yard I usually have a few hoses that are permanently laid out to transport water from the water source to a sprinkler on the other side of the property. This isn’t that big of a deal until it’s time to mow the lawn; hitting a garden hose with the mower is not fun and you usually have to replace either the mower blade, the hose, or both.
Naturally it would make sense to simply bury the hose if you don’t plan on moving it any time soon. This would make mowing easier, you wouldn’t have a tripping hazard in the yard, nor would you have an ugly hose always sitting in an otherwise nice looking yard. It’s on obvious solution to the problem but can you safely bury a garden hose without any repercussions?
Garden hoses can safely be buried underground without effecting their ability to transport water from one location to another. The materials used to make hoses are able to withstand the elements under the soil surface and water will not be contaminated by debris or soil biology.
There are however a few important details to be aware of when burying a garden hose underground so that it will work as intended for you and last for as long as possible. The following covers all the important benefits to burying a garden hose underground, tips for doing it right, and alternative solutions for the problem that you may also want to consider.
You may want to see this article on the differences between 3/4″ and 5/8″ hoses before reading further into this article because I always recommend 3/4″ hoses to people looking to place them in the ground permanently.
Heavy duty 3/4″hoses in particular will hold up to underground soil life better than light duty 5/8″ hoses. In my yard I use a short 3/4″ hose to go under my dog kennel to the other side and it’s worked just fine for a number of years now.
The Benefits of Burying a Garden Hose Underground
- No Longer Need to Carry a Hose – Avoid carrying your garden hose to same location over and over. If you have a very large backyard or live in the suburbs or rural area and have a few acres or more than setting up a underground waterline with a garden hose will save your back carrying hoses to and from where you want access to water.
- Protect Hose from the Elements – If you are running a hose and just leave it out on the ground it will be susceptible to damage from the sun during the summer and freezing during the winter. Keeps your garden hose protected from the UV exposure that is known to degrade the materials hoses are made of overtime.
- Avoid Puncturing a Hose – When a Hose is exposed on surface laying on the ground it can be damaged by countless things. If you drive on your property with any vehicles or will intend to still mow that area it can be punctured or cut resulting in a hose that you need to buy again.
- Improved Winterization – A garden hose that is buried under the ground is less likely to freeze. Especially in milder climates that do get cold enough for surface freezing, but the ground never freezes, a buried hose can be used all winter long without requiring special steps to prevent a rupture due to a frozen line. In very cold climates with frozen ground if the hose is not blown out like irrigation systems before the winter freeze it may still freeze. You can dig deeper to try and reduce this as an issue, but you must weight the benefits versus the time that is required to dip a deep trench for the line.
Common Problems of Burying a Garden Hose Underground
- Rocky or compacted soil makes it difficult to dig in. Even very heavy clay soil can be difficult to dig in depending on the time of the year. You will need to dig at least 3-4 inches deep to create a proper trench to run a hose underground and very difficult to dig in soils may prohibit you from digging with manual hand tools.
- Rodents can be drawn to water and may gnaw through the hose underground. Squirrels, voles, and moles may be attracted to the buried garden hose and nibble at it until they puncture it to get access to water.
Also you should note that a garden hose is far different than a soaker hose. If you were considering burring your soaker hose in the garden then this is not a good idea as it won’t disperse the water evenly unless it’s only coved with a thin layer of mulch.
How to Bury a Garden Hose Underground
- Plan the path that your hose will travel and avoid making any sharp turns or bends.
- Dig a trench that is 3-4 inches deep at a minimum and approximately 2 inches wide.
- The trench be dug the entire length that you intend to travel with the hose.
- Place the hose into the bottom of the trench and turn on the hose to verify one more time that there are no leaks in your hose.
- Cover the hose with soil that was removed to make the trench.
- Lightly pack the soil back in to the trench, you do not want to walk over the trench heavily and compact the dirt tightly into the hose.
- Have another hose that you attach at the end of the underground garden hose so that you have plenty of line on the hose you connect your nozzle to do to use the hose. Make sure you have the best hose nozzle to serve your needs.
Preferred Type of Garden Hose to Bury Underground
You can use any hose that you like, however when you are burying a garden hose underground you are going to put in a bunch of physical labor to dig the trench and cover it back up so it is wise to set yourself up to have it work and last for as long as possible.
Avoid vinyl hoses as they just don’t have the lifespan of a quality hose and also don’t use an old hose that already have kinks or bends in them. A hose with a permanent kink in it will be unusable underground as you will be unable to adjust the kink.
Things to Consider for the Right Hose to Bury Underground
- Rubber is always a great selection for the right garden hose to bury underground. They last a long time and will likely be equipped with good hardware on the ends. Rubber garden hoses are less likely to kink and will lay flat and straight in the trench.
- Polyurethane can be a good choice as well as they are a higher quality hose and can be made to be highly durable which is good for an underground hose.
- Metal Hose You may want to consider getting a high quality temperature inclined metal garden hose for the hose for burying. These will have a long lifespan and will not get crushed shut by the soil compacting in the trench.
- Larger diameter hose is best for this type of project. Due to the fact most people are burying a hose because they need to run a hose a far distance you do not want to limit the water pressure you will get by using a half inch or a 5/8 inch garden hose.
- Find a Weatherproof garden hose. There are good quality hoses designed to freezing and extremely hot temperatures if either of those are situations you will encounter at the depth you intend to dig to for your hose than make the investment.
Can you Bury a Garden Soaker Hose Underground?
If you are looking to water an area you can use a soaker hose and bury it under the ground. Many people will use a soaker hose around trees or bushes that need regular irrigation in a very warm climate. You will lose very little water to evaporation and get the water deeper to the roots of trees through a buried soaker hose.
Burying drip tap in a garden is a similar strategy. This is best when using the irrigation drip tape hose as it is cheaper than a standard soaker hose, but the technique is designed for the same purpose. Bury a soaker hose or drip tape along your row of tomatoes and never worry about not being able to get them enough water to have fat delicious tomatoes during the summer.
Alternative hoses for burying underground
If you are looking for an alternative to burying a garden hose to run a hose across your property there are a few common options each with their own benefits.
- PVC Tubing – PVC pipes can be an excellent solution to running a line underground when you need to install a water system that is going to last for many years even decades. This heavy-duty rigid pipe is designed to take a lot of pressure without breaking or collapsing. The only thing you will have to worry about with a PVC underground pipe system for your water system is a leaky connection or tree roots eventually growing into them and breaking the pipe. If you check the system for leaks before burying the trench and avoid running a line near large growing trees you will have an underground water system that will last for a very long time.
PEX – Avoid PEX pipe especially if you are burying a hose underground to provide for irrigation to a garden. PEX is used in many different systems for carrying liquids but it has been banned in the state of California due to studies showing the piping will leak chemicals into the water.
- Polypipe Lines – A very popular type of hose to run underground is poly pipe which is used in irrigation systems for lawns and gardens across the country. It comes in a variety of sizes and lengths and can be customizes with all the various components you can add to meet very specific watering needs for an entire yard. If you are planning on setting up an irrigation system with your underground hose, consider poly pipe instead of a garden hose.
Take advantage of all the benefits of burying a garden hose underground instead of running lines and leaving them on the surface. Burying a garden hose is a great weekend project that will make things easier to manage your watering needs across your property for years to come.
Having a plumber come out and install a new line on your property can be expensive whereas digging a small trench and burying a garden hose is a cost effective answer to the problem of lugging a hose across your property everyday to water the gardens or lawn in the summer.