Covering Drip Irrigation With Gravel: Good Or Bad Idea?

Many gardeners and farmers have become acquainted with the benefits of a drip irrigation system. They’re aware that this system produces healthier plants, is a time saver, and helps to conserve water. But when it comes to covering or concealing the drip lines, there’s often some confusion. So, can you cover your drip lines with gravel?

Although covering your drip irrigation system with gravel may help preserve the aesthetics of your lawn, it’s not a great idea because walking on the gravel can quickly damage your drip lines. Instead, use a couple inches of mulch to cover your drip lines or place them underneath raised beds.  

A drip irrigation system can work wonders on your yard. However, improper installation can also create quite a few problems. So, before you get started, let’s look at whether this system can be covered with gravel and other ways you can safely cover your drip irrigation tubes.

Is Covering Drip Irrigation With Gravel a Good Idea?

Sprinkler systems

The installation of a drip irrigation system (on Amazon) is quite simple. The drip tubes in this system are laid in between the rows of flowerbeds and around the trees to deliver water to the plant roots.

However, it’s not a good idea to cover the drip tubes with gravel, as walking on gravel can easily puncture the drip lines underneath it.

It’s better to cover the drip tubes with a couple inches of mulch since it helps the plant grow healthier by retaining the moisture released by emitters. It will also give your lawn a neat look and make it easier to check for leaks.

Furthermore, when the time comes to put your drip tubing away for winter, this layer of soil will allow easy access to the tubing.      

Is It a Good Idea to Bury Drip Irrigation? 

If you’re looking for a more permanent installation option for your drip irrigation system, then you might consider burying the tubing under the soil. This can be done by digging a trench of 4-6 inches deep in the soil.

Then, lay down the tubing and cover it with mulch and soil. Be sure to avoid gravel, as we’ve discussed, in order to protect the lines.  

However, the reality is that burying the drip lines isn’t recommended as it can create problems. The weight of the soil can squeeze the irrigation tubes, which will damage the system by cutting off the water flow.

Burrowing pests like rodents and gophers can also chew through the tubing, and it can be very hard to detect leaks in the tubes since they’re laid underground. 

If you do bury your drip irrigation lines, be sure to inspect them regularly. Check the tubing and emitters frequently to ensure that the system works properly. 

Alternative Ways to Cover Drip Irrigation 

Vegetable plant in organic garden with water drip irrigation system

Drip tubes and soaker hoses tend to detract from the overall appearance of your garden. That’s why people look for ways to camouflage them. The following is the list of methods you can use to cover your drip irrigation: 

Use Color Camouflage

A good way to hide your surface hoses and drip lines is by using color camouflage. Drip lines are available in a number of different colors, and getting them in colors that go well with the environment allows them to blend in easily.

You can choose black or brown drip irrigation lines (on Amazon); they don’t stand out so much and will blend easily with dark earth.  

Run the Tubes Beneath Raised Beds

Another innovative trick when it comes to hiding drip irrigation is to run them underneath raised beds. This method is typically used in urban homesteads as well as backyard farms. When planning your garden, be sure to give careful consideration to how you place the raised beds.

Design the raised beds in a way that will allow you to run the drip lines through or below them. This method allows you to water the raised beds present at ground level, while the hoses remain out of sight.

Cover the Drip Lines With Mulch

As we mentioned above, covering your drip tubes with mulch is an excellent way to hide them without burying them. This method is ideal for both hot and cold environments. Covering the drip tubing in mulch also helps to protect them from cracking or melting.  

Make sure that your drip lines are buried a few inches under the mulch. This will keep the tubes effectively hidden while ensuring the surrounding soil is properly hydrated. There are different types of mulches available. Be sure to choose the mulch that’s best for your area.   

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