Selecting a Garden Hose

(ARA) - Regardless of the outside temperature, living things require water in order to survive. Dry lawns and flower beds and especially thirsty vegetables need attention much of the year, not just during the hot summer months, as many people believe. In order to keep up with your lawn and garden’s watering needs, you need a high quality, reliable garden hose.

With entire aisles in stores devoted to hoses, you’re sure to be able to find exactly what you need. But how do you know which hose is right for you? Ames True Temper, a leading supplier of lawn and garden tools and accessories, offers the following crash course in garden hoses, including the different options available, standard uses and tips for maintaining them over the long term:


Hoses usually come in 25, 50, 75 and 100-foot lengths and should be purchased based on how far you need to move water. The amount of water a hose can carry depends on its size, length and available water pressure. A low-cost hose is usually 1/2 inch in diameter and delivers about 9 gallons of water per minute (gpm). Higher quality hoses are typically 5/8 inches in diameter and can deliver as much as 17 gpm. If you move up to a 3/4 inch hose, it can even deliver 23 gpm, assuming you have proper water flow at the faucet. The larger the inside diameter of the hose, the less water pressure you lose over distance. If your water pressure is low (less than 40 psi), the hose will be running uphill, or you need extra length, then look for the largest diameter size available in order to minimize the pressure lost during use. In general, a 1/2 inch diameter is usually sufficient.

As for material, hoses are typically made from rubber, vinyl, or a rubber-vinyl combination. Any of these options are fine, what makes a hose more heavy-duty is whether it is reinforced. A reinforced hose will typically bend easily without kinking, have a greater burst strength, durability and lifespan. Also look for a hose with couplings that are made of solid brass and are crush-proof.

For a good-quality hose that is unlikely to kink, crack or burst, features heavy-duty fittings and maintains its flexibility in the cold, expect to pay about $25 to $30 for a fifty-foot length. Considering that it will last many years with the proper care, that’s a good investment.


For watering, use an attachment for your hose, such as a hand-held nozzle, wand or fan, only for new transplants, seedlings and container plants. This allows you to put water precisely where it’s needed. But these attachments are inefficient for watering whole plant beds, and certainly not the best tool for lawns.

Sprinkler attachments for your hose produce artificial rainfall and are the easiest way to water a large area. Overhead sprinkling is beneficial to lawns and most plants and also rinses dust and discourages certain pests, including spider mites. Look for sprinklers with an adjustable watering pattern to cover a rectangular or square area.

If you’re using your garden hose to fill up a baby swimming pool or know your kids are going to be running through the sprinkler or spraying themselves down with the hose, be aware that not all garden hoses are suitable for possible drinking use or human contact. Most hoses are made from recycled materials, many of which have been proved to be carcinogens by various consumer groups and national testing agencies. Many of the current hoses on the market today are also susceptible to the growth of mold, bacteria, fungus and yeast. In fact, the dark, damp inside of a hose is the perfect breeding ground for these distasteful formations.

To avoid these concerns, look for the new line of garden hoses from Ames, which has Microban antimicrobial protection to prevent unwanted growth. Additionally, they are the only hoses available made of 100 percent prime (non-recycled), non-carcinogenic materials.

For vegetable and flower beds, trickle irrigation is a good way to provide uniform moisture. This watering technique requires a special porous hose set at a low water pressure and volume. These hoses are best placed alongside a row of vegetables or woven amidst flowers. They may even be buried one to two inches deep or placed on the surface and left exposed or covered by mulch. This method uses less water and delivers it only where it’s needed to give more uniform moisture.


To prevent cracking to your new garden hose, never kink or sharply bend it in use or in storage. Store hoses by coiling them on a wide bracket or hose reel, but never hang them on a sharp nail or hook.

In order to worry less about the lifetime of your new hose, make sure you purchase one that has added durability. A hose with crush-proof, heavy-duty, solid brass couplings, for instance, can be accidentally run over by a car and still perform the same. Also look for a hose with double-spiral reinforcing and a protective finish and collar to help keep it clean and new looking even after significant use.

Think of your garden hose as an investment worth making. If you’re spending money on fertilizer, seeds and plants AND you’re concerned about the quality of the water that’s filling your children’s swimming pool or covering your vegetables, then it’s important to have a quality garden hose that will last and not contain growth that could prove harmful.

For more information about the new line of Ames garden hoses with Microban Antimicrobial Protection, visit or call (800) 393-1846.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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