How to Put Away for Hoses and Rain Barrels in the Fall


Proper fall care of hoses will significantly extend their life span.

Ice is a Threat to Watering Systems

Winter requires garden & equipment preparation.

Gardens in plant growing zones 5 and under face annual winter freezing temperatures that can damage watering systems.

Growing zones 4-1 experience long periods of cold and frost, where zones 5 and above can encounter occasional freezing risks.

Watering systems can be as simple as rain barrels or more complicated like installed in-ground irrigation methods.

Regardless of the complexity of the watering system design or plant growing zone, ice accumulation is a hazard that can be mitigated.

Ice buildup can damage hoses, rain barrels, outdoor faucets, and pipes as it expands in confined spaces causing cracking and splitting.

How to Protect Your Watering Systems

Let’s take a quick look at what can be done to protect different watering systems from ice damage.

Preparing Rain Barrels for Winter

Rain barrels are a great way to supplement water collection.
Turn rain barrels upside down to prevent snow accumulation.

Rain barrels are an environmentally friendly approach to garden watering as they catch rain water.

Once you are done watering for the growing season and no longer need the rain barrels, invert them to prevent snow collection.

In areas where there may be a winter melt followed by another big freeze, the collected water can turn into ice and cause the barrels to crack.

I recommend washing out rain barrels either in the fall or the spring to reduce bacterial and fungal growth.

If you are storing watering cans outdoors in the cold, remember to empty all the water out of them, too. I store my watering cans upside down in our unheated garage. Better safe than sorry!

Preparing Watering Hoses for Winter

Draining watering hoses is essential to their longevity.

Watering hoses are susceptible to cracking and splitting if ice collects inside, so draining them is essential.

And it’s super simple to do.

Start at one end of the hose, lift it, walk the elevation to the other end, and let the water drain thoroughly.

Watering hoses can be stored indoors or outside.

I prefer to keep sprinklers, watering wands, nozzles, timers, and watering cans indoors.

Preparing Water Irrigation Systems for Winter

Sprinkler and drip irrigation systems have their own unique winter preparation requirements.

Different irrigation systems have specialized requirements to safeguard them from the effects of freezing winter temperatures.

Some need to be cleaned out with compressed air and others are fine just being drained. Refer to your system instructions for correct winter preparation.

Preparing Outdoor Water Faucets for Winter

Disconnect the indoor water feed.
Drain off any remaining water from outdoor faucets.

Outdoor water facets are also at risk of cracking if water remains in them and turns into ice.

Here’s what I do to prevent this:

First, I turn off indoor water valves that feed outdoor faucets.

Then, I open the outdoor faucets to drain out every last drop of water to avert any ice buildup.

Have Your Watering Systems Ready for Winter!

Rest easy this winter knowing that you have protected your rain barrels, hoses, irrigation systems, and outdoor water faucets from the damage winter can bring. By following my short list of preparations to drain water and avoid ice development, you can ensure that all your outdoor watering equipment is kept safe until spring comes again!

©Sharon Wallish Murphy ©Gardening with Sharon

Be the first to know when I post a new blog!

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

follow her on
Instagram and Facebook

Hot Topics

How to Deadhead Hostas

Hostas are Great Shade Perennials Hostas are famous for adding colour and texture to shade gardens with their jaw-dropping foliage. Hostas with chartreuse foliage in

Read More »

How to Grow Lavender

Grow Luscious Lavender with These Tips! Lavender, that romantically fragrant flowering plant from the Mediterranean region, is an herb for every gardener’s collection. If you’re looking

Read More »

Wait, I have something for you!

Be the first to know about new blogs and get access to one-of-a-kind content by signing up for my newsletter!

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.