Gardening Ideas: 6 Easy DIY Automatic Plant Watering Systems

Enhance your gardening journey with inventive and sustainable watering hacks using DIY Automatic Plant Watering Systems.

You’ll also want to read all about 25 DIY Planters to Build, 30+ Raised Garden Beds to Buy or DIY, DIY Wood Slat Garden Wall with Planters, or our viral Monogram Planter Plans.

We’re about to dive into the realm of DIY Automatic Plant Watering Systems – the superhero solution for keeping your leafy garden buddies happy without the stress of being a 24/7 plant sitter or hauling garden hoses.

Get ready for a plant-tastic adventure as we explore crafty and budget-friendly methods, using everyday items, to create automatic watering systems that will have your indoor and outdoor plants doing a happy dance. Let’s make plant care feel less like a chore and more like a gardening party!

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore various ingenious methods, utilizing everyday items, to create efficient and cost-effective automatic watering systems for both indoor and outdoor plants, from your plant shelf to your raised garden beds.

Young Apple Automatic Plant Watering System Deposit Photos
Man Testing Automatic Plant Watering System Deposit Phots

Understanding the Basics: Automatic Watering Systems

Before delving into the DIY wonders, let’s understand the fundamentals of automatic watering systems. These devices and systems operate on the principle of providing the right amount of water to plants at regular intervals, eliminating the guesswork from your gardening routine. Using a self-watering system and the correct watering duration can also use less water!

Capillary Action and Self-Watering Pots

Experience the convenience of consistent plant hydration with self-watering pots, harnessing capillary action (aka natural liquid flow). These pots, equipped with a built-in water reservoir and drainage holes, provide a reliable water source for indoor plants and herbs or front porch planters like ours.

Plastic Bottles and Cotton Rope

Embrace a cost-effective solution by repurposing plastic bottles for automatic watering. This DIY method not only saves resources by recycling, but also maintains soil moisture consistently, promoting a thriving and well-hydrated garden.

PVC Pipe Drip System

Effortlessly provide a continuous water supply to your outdoor plants with a PVC pipe drip system. This setup, suitable for larger pots and planters or in-ground plants, utilizes a water pump to circulate water from a reservoir directly to the soil.

Wine Bottle Drip Irrigation

Give empty wine bottles a new purpose by employing a DIY drip irrigation system. This creative solution not only adds a touch of sustainability but also ensures precise and controlled watering, contributing to the overall health and well-being of your plants

Soaker Hose or Drip Irrigation Kit

A soaker hose is a porous hose that allows water to seep out along its length, providing a slow and steady watering directly to the soil. This is particularly useful for garden beds and rows of plants. On the other hand, an automatic drip irrigation kit consists of a network of tubing and emitters that deliver water directly to the base of each plant, which can be used for in-ground plants, planters, or even hanging baskets.

Hose Timer for Advanced Systems

To enhance control and convenience in your automatic watering setup, introduce a hose timer. A hose timer allows you to program specific watering schedules, durations, and frequency. This is especially beneficial for larger gardens or when you’re away from home.

Man Connecting Hose Water System Shutterstock

Know Before You Build: Plant Water Needs

Your plants’ water needs depend on many factors: plant type, humidity (for both indoor and outdoor plants), the amount of sunlight plants receive, the season and rainfall expectations, and the soil type and moisture content. If you’re uncertain how to determine the hydration needs of your plants, consult a local greenhouse or gardening group.

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Building Your DIY Automatic Watering System

Materials You’ll Need:

  1. Plastic bottles or glass bottles (empty wine or soda bottles work well)
  2. PVC pipes
  3. Cotton rope
  4. Water pump
  5. Plastic bags
  6. Water reservoir (water tank or bucket)
  7. Drill
  8. Hose timer (for more advanced systems)
  9. Soaker hose or drip irrigation kit
  10. Soil moisture sensor probe (optional)

DIY Methods for Indoor Plants

Nimbus Pot Self Watering Pots @remodelaholic 2 (1)

1. Self-Watering Pots

Transform your indoor plant care routine with self-watering pots, a smart and efficient way to keep your plants hydrated without constant oversight.


  1. Self-watering pot
  2. Water reservoir
  3. Potting soil


  1. Choose the Right Pot: Select a self-watering pot equipped with a water reservoir at the bottom and adequate drainage holes.
  2. Add Potting Soil: Fill the pot with your preferred potting soil, leaving enough space at the top for easy watering.
  3. Water Reservoir Placement: Place the water reservoir at the bottom of the pot. The reservoir should have a capillary wick that extends into the soil. This is the mechanism that will allow the water to naturally come up into the planter as the dirt dries out, preventing the plant from getting too much water.
  4. Plant Your Green Companion: Plant your indoor greenery in the soil above the water reservoir.
  5. Capillary Action at Work: As the soil dries, it triggers capillary action, drawing water from the reservoir into the soil, providing your plant with a consistent and self-regulated water supply.
Cotton Rope Wick System Hello Glow

2. Plastic Bottle and Cotton Rope System

A simple yet effective DIY solution, the plastic bottle and cotton rope system ensures your indoor plants receive the right amount of water without the need for constant attention. Checkout this amazing tutorial from Hello Glow.


  1. Plastic bottle
  2. Cotton rope
  3. Drill


  1. Prepare the Bottle: Drill small holes in the cap of a plastic bottle. These holes regulate the flow of water.
  2. Fill the Bottle: Fill the plastic bottle with water, ensuring the cap is securely screwed on.
  3. Insert Cotton Rope: Thread a cotton rope through the holes in the bottle cap. The rope will act as a conduit for water.
  4. Place in Soil: Insert the other end of the cotton rope into the soil of your indoor plant, ensuring it reaches the root zone.
  5. Wicking Action: Through capillary action, the cotton rope will draw water from the bottle to the soil, providing a steady and regulated water supply.

Embrace the convenience of these DIY methods for indoor plants, turning your home into a flourishing oasis with lush greenery that thrives with minimal intervention.

DIY Methods for Outdoor Plants

Wine Bottle Drip Hello Glow

1. Wine Bottle Drip Irrigation

Transform your discarded wine bottles into efficient watering tools with this creative and eco-friendly drip irrigation method. Have a look with this amazing tutorial from Hello Glow.


  • Empty wine bottle
  • Water


  1. Prepare the Bottle: Ensure the wine bottle is clean and empty. Remove any labels or residues.
  2. Fill with Water: Fill the empty wine bottle with water, leaving some space at the top to facilitate the flow.
  3. Invert Into Soil: Dig a hole in the soil near your outdoor plant and invert the filled wine bottle into the hole, ensuring it is stable.
  4. Adjust Depth: Control the rate of water flow by adjusting the depth of the inverted bottle. Deeper placement slows down the flow, providing a consistent supply over a more extended period.
Pvc Drip System Our Stoney Acres

2. PVC Pipe Drip System

For larger plants or a cluster of potted greenery, a PVC pipe drip system is a sophisticated yet straightforward solution that ensures your plants stay adequately hydrated. We have an awesome tutorial here from Our Stoney Acres.


  • PVC pipe
  • Water pump
  • Water tank
  • Drip heads


  1. Assemble the System: Connect a PVC pipe to a water pump submerged in a water tank. Ensure a secure and watertight connection.
  2. Strategic Drip Heads: Position drip heads along the PVC pipe, strategically directing water flow to each potted plant.
  3. Place in Potted Plants: Integrate the PVC pipe into the arrangement of your potted plants, allowing each plant to receive a personalized and consistent water supply.
  4. Adjust Water Flow: Depending on your plant’s needs, adjust the water pump to regulate the flow and frequency of watering.
  5. Automation Advantage: This DIY PVC pipe drip system provides an automated solution, reducing the hands-on effort needed for maintaining optimal soil moisture levels. Irrigation timers are easy to use, and many modern smart timers can connect to bluetooth or wi-fi to be set from your smartphone or by using a smart-home platform such as Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.
Automatic Watering System Outdoor Shutterstock

3. Soaker Hose or Drip Irrigation Kit

Upgrade your outdoor plant care with a soaker hose or a drip irrigation kit, ensuring each plant receives precise and efficient watering.


  • Soaker hose or drip irrigation kit
  • Water container or hose


  1. Lay the System: Position the soaker hose or install the drip irrigation kit in the soil around your outdoor plants. Ensure the system covers the root zones adequately.
  2. Connect to Water Source: Connect the soaker hose or drip irrigation kit to a water container or hose, providing a constant and controlled water source.
  3. Adjust Water Pressure: Depending on your plants’ needs, adjust the water pressure to regulate the flow and distribution of water.
  4. Customize for Each Plant: Tailor the layout of the system to suit the specific requirements of each plant, ensuring a personalized and efficient watering solution.
Hose Timer Shutterstock

4. Hose Timer for Advanced Systems

Elevate your outdoor plant care to a new level of convenience with a hose timer, automating the watering schedule for your garden.


  • Hose timer
  • Water source (hose or water container)


  1. Install the Hose Timer: Attach the hose timer to your water source, whether it’s a hose or a water container.
  2. Set the Schedule: Program the hose timer to water your outdoor plants at specific intervals and durations. This allows for consistent and efficient watering without manual intervention.
  3. Optimize Watering Times: Adjust the watering schedule based on your local climate, considering factors such as temperature and rainfall. Consider investing in a smart hose timer so you can set the schedule right from the app on your phone and also integrate the schedule with the weather forecast and precipitation reports to prevent over-watering or add an extra watering cycle on extra hot days.
  4. Hands-Free Plant Care: With a hose timer, your outdoor plants receive the right amount of water at the right time, even when you’re not around, making it an ideal solution for those with busy schedules.

Embrace these DIY methods for outdoor plants to foster a flourishing garden that thrives under your personalized care. From repurposing wine bottles to installing advanced watering systems, these solutions cater to the diverse needs of your outdoor greenery, ensuring they receive the attention they deserve.

Additional Tips for Effective DIY Automatic Watering Systems

Enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of your DIY automatic watering system with these additional tips, ensuring your plants receive the optimal care they deserve:

Soil Measurement Shutterstock

1. Soil Moisture Sensor Probe

Introduce a high-tech element to your DIY system by incorporating a soil moisture sensor probe. This tool provides precise insights into the moisture levels of the soil, allowing you to tailor your watering schedule accordingly.


  • Accurate Monitoring: The sensor probe provides real-time data on the moisture content of the soil.
  • Customized Watering: Adjust your watering system based on the specific needs of each plant, promoting individualized care.


  • Insert the soil moisture sensor probe into the soil of each potted plant or at strategic locations in your garden.
  • Connect the sensor to your watering system or controller.
Overflow System Shutterstock

2. Overflow System

Prevent overwatering mishaps by implementing an overflow system in your DIY watering setup. This ensures excess water is efficiently redirected away from the plant, preserving its health and preventing waterlogged conditions.


  • Avoids Waterlogging: Redirecting excess water prevents the risk of waterlogging, which can lead to root rot.
  • Protects Plant Health: Maintaining proper drainage contributes to the overall health and vitality of your plants.


  • Integrate an overflow mechanism, such as a secondary drainage system, into your DIY watering setup.
  • Direct overflow away from the plant to a designated drainage area.
Good Drainage Shutterstock

3. Root Rot Prevention

Safeguard your plants against the common threat of root rot by prioritizing good drainage. Elevate pots on blocks or opt for containers with drainage holes, allowing excess water to escape and ensuring your plants’ roots remain healthy.


  • Healthy Root System: Adequate drainage prevents water from pooling around the roots, reducing the risk of root rot.
  • Improved Oxygenation: Good drainage encourages proper aeration of the soil, promoting root health.


  • Elevate pots slightly using blocks or other supports to facilitate water drainage.
  • Choose containers with drainage holes to allow excess water to escape freely.
Healthy Plant Shutterstock

4. Water Waste Reduction

Design your DIY automatic watering system with water conservation in mind. Minimize water waste by delivering precisely the right amount of water needed for optimal plant health, contributing to both environmental sustainability and cost savings.


  • Environmental Conservation: Minimizing water waste reduces the environmental impact of your gardening practices.
  • Cost-Efficient: Using only the necessary amount of water helps cut down on water bills associated with plant care.


  • Calibrate your watering system to provide the right amount of water for each plant’s specific needs.
  • Utilize technology like timers and sensors to avoid unnecessary water usage.

Incorporating these additional tips into your DIY automatic watering system not only enhances its functionality but also establishes a comprehensive approach to plant care.

By embracing technology, preventing overwatering, prioritizing root health, and minimizing water waste, you’ll create a sustainable and efficient system that ensures your plants thrive in a well-balanced and precisely managed environment.

Man Automatic Watering System Shutterstock


Creating your DIY automatic watering system is a rewarding and sustainable way to care for your plants. Whether you’re tending to a lush indoor jungle or cultivating a thriving outdoor garden, the options are as varied as the plants themselves.

Embrace the convenience of automated watering systems, save time, and ensure the well-being of your plants with these DIY solutions. Experiment with different methods to discover the best automatic watering system for your unique gardening needs. Remember, the beauty of these systems lies not just in the technology but in the connection they foster between you and your garden.

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Cassity Kmetzsch started Remodelaholic after graduating from Utah State University with a degree in Interior Design. Remodelaholic is the place to share her love for knocking out walls, and building everything back up again to not only add function but beauty to her home. Together with her husband Justin, they have remodeled 6 homes and are working on a seventh. She is a mother of four amazing girls. Making a house a home is her favorite hobby.

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