DIY: Self-Watering Container Garden

The benefits of container gardens is that they are very water-efficient. Plants receive their water from the water reservoir below the soil so they can get as much water as they need and no water is wasted through evaporation. Since plants are free to take as much water as the want, they are never stressed for water which results in better tasting fruits and vegetables. In addition, with the water reservoir there is no need to constantly water your plants and it’s easy to leave your plants when on vacation, particularly if you set your hose on a timer.

(By the way, our first container garden contained tomatoes and I had to leave for 3 weeks. Even with no access to a hose, I figured out a way to water the tomatoes while I was out of town. Comment or message me if you’d like to know how I did it).

Now, there are many different designs on how to make container gardens. My husband first made one using mesh baskets which he had to cut up and place upside down in a container…and sometimes after all that work, it wouldn’t work as the container would collapse. He found a better solution using corrugated drain pipe and he was really excited as it was very easy to build compared to his previous container gardens.

The total price of the materials will be over $50, but you’ll have plenty of extra flex pipe and corrugated drain pipe for additional container gardens.

Here are the materials he used:

Commander 27-Gallon Tote

FLEX-Drain Corrugated Pipe with Filter Sock 4″ x 25′

10′ Orbit Polyethylene Riser Flex Pipe

Apollo 3/4″ Polyethylene Drip Irrigation Elbow

Apollo 3/4″ PVC Drip Irrigation Female Adapter

Miracle-Gro 64 qt. Moisture Control Potting Mix


Morning Mood by Grieg
(This song was downloaded from YouTube’s Audio Library.)


Hilary Lowman says:

Will it be okay without the net covering the tube?

Rachael T. Rocca says:

wow thankyou

The Super Vanquish says:

bottom watering relies on the wicking effect, similar how zippo lighters work.

Slightly Rednecked says:

well done man. I am doing a similar project for an upcoming presentation at the local seed and garden club. I like this design a lot. You gave me some great ideas. Thanks for sharing

Alex Giles says:


GodlessManitoban says:

My self watering system is the rain. Every now and then I water my garden with a sprinkler for an hour.

Mary H says:

Would it be feasible to cover this with something like black plastic to keep the moisture in and weeds out? Or would that just be overkill?

Mijki Mijki says:

Works as from store but is lot cheaper , nice . Not for lasy gardeners by the way )))

tannenbaum says:

Great design.I think I saw in your video that multiple bins were attached to a single water source….can you elaborate on the setup and connections.

dilberttf says:

Can I add a float valve to this system as well?

wanda schlurf says:

drainage port must be higher for bigger plants like tabacco and tomatoes :)but anyway this is a nice solution

bicanoo_magic says:

Waaay to complicated and the potential for leaks with all those hose fittings is high. Great idea. But I also see complications later on and a hose dedicated to the pots. I’m also not sure if those shallow rooting plants need all that. But if you were planting Broccoli or something like that it would make more sense and would be more beneficial to deeper rooting plants. I get it. But I think there might be simpler and cheaper solutions that’s all.

Piroska Kirika says:

Would it be possible to leave for 8 weeks and not water with this system?  How often you refill with water?  What kind of timer did you buy and where?  So if there is a timer you never have to fill the system with water yourself?  The timer does it automatically for you?

Rachael T. Rocca says:

wow thank you

Mother Nature says:

Thanks for sharing.

reyas lj says:

Should there be a bit of an air space between bottom of soil and top level of the water…Do the roots require air…?
Great informative video …thanks

My name is Joe says:

Nice and informative video :D.

Randy J says:

the leach field for a septic tank system operates on the same principal. drain water is sent to a perforated drain tile (much larger) (and much longer) covered with a sock.  Leach field is backfilled, the sock take the free liquid and provides it to the sock which provides it thru wicking to the soil.  The rest is natural capillary action in the soil from the heat and cool cycles that occur each day.

phil fox says:

Great job in this design try linking the tubs together for maximum effect. Then you only use the hose once instead of keep hooking up the tanks individually.

Bjarke Rugsted says:

I am thinking, plats don’t need water like we need water, water for plats is a transport system of neuriants, neutriants are on top of the soil, so would it not be better for the plants if you could somehow make the water go through the soil and down to the reservoir for the best results? (i dont know much about this in practice i just studie biologic)

Skylark Amaris says:

You need a new partner. She’s so lame

jmmurdy says:


slhines7 says:

Wow and this is super awesome design, which yall should patent.

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