Garden Basics

9 Ways to Water Your Garden Even When You’re Away

If you cannot get a friend or neighbor to come in and water your garden, there are some easy tips to keep your garden well hydrated.

In addition, there are many ways to water your garden plants without having to be there.

Below we will share nine creative methods for watering your garden when away from home.

1. Automatic Irrigation System for your Lawn and Garden Beds

The easiest way but most costly to water your garden with the least amount of effort on your part is an automatic irrigation system.

There are many to choose from, but a drip irrigation system is perfect for a backyard garden and sprinklers for your lawn.

There are many types of controllers and timers. You need to find the one that best suits your needs.

2. Rain Barrel Method

Rain Barrel

If you have a rain barrel at your home, this is the perfect watering method for gardeners away.

A rain barrel can be attached to any downspout around the home.

Attach a soaker hose to the rain barrel so that those plants get watered without any effort on your part! You will have enough for weeks, if not months, depending on your rainfall.

To make this method work well, I recommend installing additional gutters around where you live, which causes more rainfall runoff into these barrels rather than onto roofs and sidewalks, making them slippery and dirty.

3. Regular Garden Hose and Sprinkler with Timer

A hose timer will turn off the water automatically. You attach the end of the garden hose to one side of the timer while attaching the other end to your faucet's threaded outlet.

Hose timers are a great solution. They'll get your hose going for you in the water beds, borders, and lawn by a regularly programmed schedule or a set number of minutes.

You can also choose a version with more than one outlet to run two hoses simultaneously.

4. Soak the Garden Beforehand

Firstly put down a good layer of mulch then give your garden a deep watering every day for about four days before you leave, and this should give your garden enough moisture for about a week if the temperatures are not too intense.

5. The Saucer Method For Container Plants

Pot plant in saucer

Water the pot plant well and let the water drip out. Now your plant is thoroughly watered.

Place a container of water under the pot plant and fill it with water. Gradually the water will be absorbed.

This method will work well for a limited period, and remember that most plants dislike wet feet for long periods, except water plants.

Related: DIY Potting Mix for Container Gardening

6. String Drip System

This method can work for house plants, container plants or small garden beds.

  • Bury the one end of a thick string or rope in your pot plant's soil and the other end placed in a large container filled with water.
  • Put a weight on the end in the water to keep it from floating.
  • Place the container above the plant so water can travel easier. The capillary action will allow the water to travel from the large container to the plant via the string.
  • Add multiple lengths of string into multiple pot plants.
  • This method should supply your plants with enough water for up to a week if the water container is large enough.

7. Water Bottle Drip System

A water bottle drip system is an easy, cheap and effective method of watering your garden.

  • Water your garden well beforehand.
  • Take an empty soda bottle, and pierce three or four holes on one side of the bottle and the bottom.
  • Water the garden, then dig a hole near your plant and place the bottle into moist soil with the neck protruding out of the soil.
  • Point the holes in the side of the bottle towards the plant.
  • Fill the bottle just before you leave for your trip.
  • The water will drip into the soil via the holes in the bottle and ensure your plants get adequate moisture.
  • Placing a lid on the bottle will slow the flow of water and keep any debris out.
  • When using this method for pot plants, only pierce the bottle's cap with three or four small holes with a heated sowing needle or pin and place it cap side into the soil.
  • Bury a stick into the pot and tie the upsidedown bottle to it if necessary. 

8. Make a Cork Watering Bottle

Use an empty bottle of wine or sparkling wine with a cork as your water container. A standard bottle of wine will hold enough water for a 5sq ft (1.5m) garden for about 3 - 4 days.

  • Pierce a few holes through the cork.
  • Fill the wine bottle with water and replace the cork making sure it has a snug fit.
  • Place some screening material over the cork and mouth of the bottle and tie it in place with an elastic band. The screening will prevent the cork from getting clogged with soil.
  • Bury the top side of the bottle into the soil, and the water will drip slowly into the soil, keeping it moist.

9. Self Watering Planter System

Self watering planter

Self-watering pots are a type of planter that has a water reservoir built-in.

They have two containers. The top container has the plant, and the bottom container houses the water.

There are different systems for this type of planter.

For example, some systems have volcanic rock, which is added to the bottom of the top container, and this rock will only soak up a certain amount of water from being drawn up from the bottom container.

Another system of self-watering pot has a wick in the top container through to the bottom reservoir.

This pot is excellent for indoor plants and can be used outside if the soil retains enough moisture.

Add water to your self-watering pots before you leave on vacation, and your plant should have adequate moisture until you return from a week or two. 


Now that you know how to water your plants while away, there's no reason for those pots and garden beds to go thirsty.

Whether a string drip system or an easy DIY cork self-watering container, these methods will ensure that your plants get enough of their life-sustained moisture when traveling on vacation.

Always remember to mulch, mulch and mulch some more. Happy travels!

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