Can You Bury a Garden Hose? [Is it Right for You?]

You are using your garden hose as a permanent or semi-permanent water supply. While it is very convenient leaving it strung out across your yard or property, it may be getting in the way of other activities or continually getting damaged. You are likely wondering can you bury a garden hose?

The answer is yes, you can bury a garden hose. You will need to make sure you do it properly but burying a garden hose can be a great solution to get it out of the way. Burying a garden hose is also something you can do yourself, as long as you don’t mind a little work and it is legal in your area.

Burying a garden hose can be quite convenient in the right situations, but you need to make sure it is right for you. There are a few things you will need to consider when deciding to bury your garden hose or not. Before you get the shovel out or call the excavation contractor, you will need to evaluate the following criteria.

  • Climate
  • Terrain
  • Hose material
  • Local laws and regulations

In this article I will break down each one of these categories to help give you a better idea if you should bury your garden hose. At the end, I will also discuss some common applications for burying your garden hose and some pro tips along the way.

Can you Bury a garden hose?

As mentioned above, yes you can bury a garden hose. Burying a garden hose can be an effective way to keep your hose from being damaged or out of the way. This is also something that you can do yourself, as long as you don’t mind doing a little digging.

You will need to evaluate your situation to make sure this is right for you. Burying a garden hose isn’t always the best option for everyone. Not only can it end up making a situation worse or more cumbersome, it might be illegal in your area as well.

Pro Tip: Be sure to consult the proper local authorities before digging to make sure it is allowed in your area. This would be whatever government agency handles your local building permits.

Before you start digging, make sure you have all the information you need so you don’t waste your time and money. Let’s take a look at the factors you will need to consider when deciding to bury your garden hose or not.

Burying a Garden Hose in these Climates

Hot-Dry Climate

This is primarily in the Southwest of the United States where for the most part, temperatures stay above freezing year around. Precipitation is fairly scarce, which means it is pretty dry for vast majority of the year.

The biggest challenge for this climate will be withstanding heat. When dealing with hot temperatures. you should look for a rubber and stainless steel hose. Rubber hoses will have substantially better flow rate than metal hoses. Metal hoses will be not pinch or collapse if the ground moves.

You should only need to bury your garden hose 3-4 inches deep. However, if it does get below freezing in the winter, you will need to bury it below the frostline. To find out the depth of the frostline, you should consult your local government agency that handles building permits.

Humid-Tropical Climate

This is primarily in the Southeast of the United States. These areas usually have temperatures stay above freezing and consistent precipitation year-around. Of course there are some months that are drier than others.

The biggest challenge in this climate will be the consistent moisture year around. I would recommend going with a rubber hose in this environment. It will hold up to the really hot temperatures and it will last much longer in the year-around damp soil. With that said, any type of hose should work in this climate.

You should only need to bury your garden hose 3-4 inches deep. However, if it does get below freezing in the winter, you will need to bury it below the frostline. To find out the depth of the frostline, you should consult your local government agency that handles building permits.

Temperate Climate

This is primarily in the Northeast, North Central, and plains of the Untied States. These climates have 4 distinct seasons with hot humid summers and cold dry winters. With these seasons also come a wide range of temperatures. Summers can get very hot while winters will get very cold.

If you are going to have the hose buried year-around, I would recommend a metal hose for this climate. While the flow rate will be lower than a regular hose, this is the best hose that will standup to extreme temperatures and not collapse under the weight of the dirt. Another option is a heavy duty vinyl hose as they shouldn’t collapse, but they don’t hold up well in cold temperatures. You could also use a premium rubber hose as they are great for cold and hot temperatures, but they may collapse under the weight of the dirt since your trench will likely be several feet deep.

Because it gets so cold, you will have to bury this hose below the frostline which is typically 3-4 feet deep in these areas. It is always best to consult your local government on how deep your local area frostline.

Pro Tip: If you don’t need it in the winter, consider digging a shallow trench (3-4 inches deep) and covering it with paving stones. This allows you to hide the hose when its above freezing and still remove the hose for safe storage when winter comes. If you do this, any material of hose should work fine.

Oceanic Climate

This is primarily in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. These areas are similar to temperate climates but without the extreme temperatures. They are typically more wet that a temperate climate as well. While the temperatures do get below freezing some, most areas don’t see the negative temperatures in the winter.

Again, a big challenge with this climate can be all the moisture and freezing temperatures in the coldest months of the year. Most hoses will hold up fine in this climate, but I would recommend a rubber hose. Rubber can handle the cold temperatures in the winter and won’t have any issues with damp soil.

You likely won’t have to bury a garden hose as deep as a temperate climate, but you will likely need to bury it around 12-18 inches to keep it from freezing in the winter. To find out the depth of the frostline, you should consult your local government agency that handles building permits.

Terrains for Burying a Garden Hose

Silty or Top Soil

This is the ideal terrain to be burying your garden hose in. This kind of soil is easy to dig in and is very stable. There aren’t any obvious issues with digging a trench in this type of soil. This soil tends to be very fertile, thus having a lot of vegetation and potentially attracting wildlife.

Once the trench is dug, the main concern with burying a garden hose in this type of soil is the presence of digging or burrowing animals. Since this soil is easy to dig in and typically very nutritious you may encounter animals such as moles or other animals that could chew through your garden hose. If you are worried about this, you can always use a metal hose.

Rocky Soil

This type of soil is not ideal for burying a garden hose. This type of soil is going to be very hard to dig in and you never know how many rocks are beneath the soil. Some rocks can be big enough that you might have to trench around them. Not only might it make you reroute your trench, you simply may not be able to dig deep enough depending on your climate.

If you are able to get the trench completed, the main concern for your hose will be if it can get cut on the rocks. Digging through rocky soil may leave sharp edged that can cut the hose. Likely though, any of the heavy duty rubber or vinyl hoses will be fine for this type of soil. If burying your garden hose isn’t an option, you can look into automatic hose reels that make it convenient for winding your hose back up.

Clay Soil

This type of soil is in the middle of silty and rocky soil when it comes to being able to bury a garden hose. Clay is very thick and tends to stick to your shovel when wet, but can be very hard when it dries out. When it is wet, it is relatively easy to dig in, but the “stickiness” can be a bit of a nuisance. When it is dry, it can be somewhat difficult to dig in.

The biggest issue with clay is that it really shrinks when it is dry and expands when it is wet. Clay tends to hold moisture because it is very poor at drainage. The issue with this is that when the ground moves, it can put pressure on your hose and potentially collapse it. I would recommend using a premium vinyl or metal hose. With that said, you can use any hose in this type of soil.

Garden Hose Materials for Burying a Garden Hose

Rubber Hoses

Rubber hoses stand up to water and dampness well. Rubber hoses are also great in extreme temperatures. Some are still usable in temperatures as low as negative 40 degrees and as high as 150 degrees (Fahrenheit). Rubber hoses though don’t hold their shape well, as they are flexible, which means they aren’t great for burying several feet deep, as the weight might collapse them.

Polyurethane (Plastic) Hoses

Another material option for hoses you bury is polyurethane. Like a rubber hose, it will hold up fine in wet conditions. There are some plastic hoses that can handle the weight of being buried, many do not, especially if you have to bury it several feet. Plastic hoses will not hold up well in cold temperatures either.

Vinyl Hoses

You do not want to bury a cheap vinyl hose, as they wear out fast, won’t hold their shape well, and won’t hold up in damp soil. Premium vinyl hoses use extra layering to reinforce the hose, which will help keep its shape when buried. Premium vinyl hoses won’t be great for consistently damp soils though. In general, vinyl hoses don’t handle extreme temperatures very well either, especially cold weather.

Metal Hoses

The strength of a metal hose is they are (for the most part) chew resistant. These hoses also hold their shape very well, in fact I have ran over them with an SUV and they didn’t crush. Metal hoses though are usually smaller diameter, which means they will have much lower flow rate. In constant damp or moist soil, they might rust as well. If rust goes untreated, it can eventually ruin the hose.

Local Laws and Regulations

Digging Permit Regulations

Local laws may prohibit you from digging a trench in your lawn or property. Even though you own the property, there may be laws in place that don’t allow you to dig trenches, or you may have to get approval ahead of time. If there is any concern over this, you will want to contact the local agency that handles building permits.

Also, if you belong to a Home Owners Association (HOA), you might check with them ahead of time as well. This shouldn’t be an issue, but some HOA’s have very strict rules.

Utility Line Regulations

Whenever you are digging on your property, you should always contact the national call line so they can come out and mark utility lines or anything else that is buried on your property. The national number to call is “811”. You can also visit their website to check out other things you may need to call them about. You can also find out the information you will need to have when you get them on the phone.

While they will be able to mark all the utility lines and many other things that are buried, they likely will not mark everything. Things like sprinkler systems or even internet lines may still be buried without them identifying it. Just be careful and pay attention when you digging, especially when doing so deeper than 3 inches.

Home Insurance Regulations

If you own your home, chances are your insurance provider will be fine with you burying a garden hose in your own yard. However, before making any significant changes like this, it’s always a good idea to give your agent a call and ask. You never want to void an insurance policy when you could have prevented it or gotten it covered ahead of time.

Also if you are planning on moving soon and determine if digging a trench will matter for selling the property or not. While this shouldn’t be that big of a deal to a prospective buyer, you never know. Just keep this in mind if you are planning on moving in the near future.

Common Applications for Burying a Garden Hose

Sprinkler Systems

Can I bury a garden hose for a sprinkler system? Yes, in fact sprinkler systems are often flexible lines that are similar to hoses. While you likely won’t have the full functioinality of a sprinkler system, burying a garden hose can be an effective way to water your lawn without having to leave a hose laying around all the time.

Water Gardens

A buried hose is an easy way to bring water to a water garden. Landscapers use this trick sometimes to hide the water source or the return line to the pump for a water feature. This can make it easy to keep freshwater in these types of features, which key to keeping them looking nice.

Additional Water Source

You may need a water source that is away from your house to water animals or plants. Instead of lugging around a very long and heavy hose, you could bury it and have a makeshift hydrant away from your house. Keep in mind that in the winter, the section of the hose that is near the surface may freeze, depending on the climate.

Joshua Lloyd

Joshua Lloyd has been a contributor and tester for us since our beginning. He has extensive hands-on experience using and testing the hoses we discuss at length on this site. He has specifically contributed to the testing of hose flow rate, crush-resistance, and weight. We have also relied on him to use and test other hose accessories, like storage reels and spray nozzles. As we do with all our contributors, we ask him to use his hands-on experience with these hoses to provide authentic advice to our audience.

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