Our Current Yard Hydrant Setup - Spring 2019
Last year, I came to the conclusion that due to the size of our property, having a hose that is connected to our main spigot against the house was basically unusable. The hose would have to be 200+ feet long and would stretch all over the place. What else? It would inevitably end up being strewn across the lawn and get nicked up by our Automower. My solution was this yard hydrant.
I bought this beige color one that has a hose holder attached and simply stuck it in the ground. It has its own spigot and allows me to turn the water on/off at this point.
I ran a rubber hose from the house out about 100 or so feet in the mulch beds. I buried it just a few inches underground and connected it to the yard hydrant. Then I have this existing vinyl 100' hose that I can use to run out to the various beds.
This eliminated half of the problem of having hose laying around. But, it still means that I have 100 feet of hose (instead of 200 feet!) that ends up laying around.
Posting this simply to document the current state. I have a few ideas about how I can best upgrade the situation and I think it involves the installation of another one of those Gartenkraft retractable hose reels. I love the one we have in the garage because I never leave the hose out. The only problem is the diameter of the hose (1/2" hose) that means the flow is restricted a little bit.
But, the mounting of a retractable hose reel poses its own problems. As I mentioned, I just stuck this yard hydrant in the ground. There's no concrete for the post to bear on, there's no footings at all. And it shows. The thing ends up leaning one way or the other and I kind of use those pieces of flagstone to try to keep it in place.
A retractable reel can't just kind of hang there. There's a lot of pulling/yanking on the hose. And it needs to be anchored. I've thought about a bunch of different options that I can unpack here.
Check out the image below for the three ways I've contemplated.
#1. A free-standing post. Imagine a cedar timber sunk into the ground (some depth?) and hanging the reel on that. Questions include how deep does the hole go? Sonotube? How deep in the ground is the post? How high off the ground do I mount the reel?
#2. Mounting a cleat on the fence. The top/bottom of my fence have cedar 2x4's that run from post to post. Imagine lagging a cedar 2x4 cleat to the top/bottom and using the existing fence posts to provide the anchoring. The pulling will all be bore through the rails of the fence. Same questions remain in terms of the height of the reel, but, this seems to eliminate the digging questions.
#3. Our fence has steel posts that are wrapped in cedar faces. You can see the steel posts in this post here. The posts sheer'ing off at the concrete level is one of the ways that fences wear the most, so we decided to upgrade our post system to these steel posts to extend the life of our fence. As part of that steel post system, there are - basically - fence pickets that are affixed to the 'faces' of the steel posts. This is to make sure you don't *see* the steel and it looks just like a cedar post. But, if you look closely, you can see that there's a little gap right next to the posts. Skip down to the second photo for what I'm talking about. Scroll down there, then come back here. Ok...you're back? For this option, imagine kind of 'sneaking' a cedar 2x4 in that gap. Snug it up next to the steel post and under the top rail. Run it the length of the opening and run bolts through the faces of each side and through the new 2x4. This gets the bearing of the hose reel as close to an existing post as it possibly could - which is great - but I am having a little bit of trouble figuring out how to attach it to the top/bottom rails, too. The top can be bolted through, but the bottom? Maybe a pocket screw or two?
Here's the gap that I found for option #3 below. I think I would have to relocate the yard hydrant to the left a bit or perhaps figure out a way to mount *that* to the fence, too?
Once I get it all sorted, I'll try to capture photos of the new system back here. I think I need to solve the hose setup that is close to the spigot outside of the house, but the stakes there are a little higher because that one will be way more visible to the house and patio.