Drilling wells – instructions and hints

A fountain in the garden can not only look beautiful, but can also be used to water the plants. Read here how to build a well.

Drilling wells
© PMDesign – Fotolia.com

On dry and hot summer days, the plants in the garden at home can quickly become cramped when the rainwater accumulated in the barrel slowly runs out. If the hobby gardener wants to preserve the splendour of the flowers and prevent the harvest from falling into the water due to prolonged drought, he is forced to resort to tap water. How practical would it be to have your own well so that the water supply does not run out? If you get water from your own well, this is not only extremely practical, you also save money. We will now tell you how to drill wells quite easily yourself and what you need to bear in mind.

Why drill wells yourself?

Water from the tap is expensive. Well also drill, you may now return. Not necessarily, because drilling your own well pays for itself quickly and costs much less than having a professional water point built. However, drilling a well cannot really be recommended without restrictions. Because in a rather small garden it is only worthwhile to use a drill if the groundwater level is at most six metres deep. It is only worthwhile to advance to greater depths with heavy technology on correspondingly large properties.

Tip: The respective water supplier will inform you about the groundwater level on your property. In most cases, the corresponding values can also be retrieved online.

Can you drill a well in your own garden?

This varies from municipality to municipality. Here you have to get clarity individually in each case. In most cases it is sufficient to simply register the well construction free of charge.

In the United States, wells are generally subject to approval in the United States.

If you fail to report a groundwater well to the water authority, you will be fined up to 50,000 dollars. If the well is to be used for drinking water, a separate permit is required.

Well water can be used without permission as follows:

  • as watering water for the irrigation of plants
  • as flushing water for the WC
  • as washing water for the dishwasher or washing machine

Tip: Even undeclared wells that are only used for irrigation purposes are considered an administrative offence under American law.

It is not only the construction of a new well that has to be reported; there is also an obligation to report if you put old wells back into operation or make structural changes in this connection.

When registering, you will be asked for various details

  • Which well type do you use?
  • Where does the well water come from?
  • Do you also pass the well water on to third parties?
  • What is the well water used for?
  • How is the water discharged?

Can I drink my well water?

Drink well water
© jozsitoeroe – Fotolia.com

Water of drinkable quality is not cheap. For one cubic meter of water we pay about two dollars. In order to make the water bill more moderate in the future or even to avoid it completely, the idea suggests itself not only to irrigate the plants with the well water, but also to use it as drinking water. However, well water may not automatically be used as drinking water. Anyone who intends to do this must contact the local health department. The further procedure on site is different. Some offices are content to take a look at the water analysis. If the health department takes it particularly seriously, you must expect that inspections will be carried out. This is associated with costs of varying amounts.

Types of well

You can create different wells on your property. The following well types are common:

drilled wells

Drill wells are almost indestructible. A well filter pipe is embedded in the groundwater. This pipe is coated with filter gravel. A further, full-walled pipe, which serves the actual water conveyance, reaches up to the earth’s surface. Drill wells have a depth of six to a maximum of 20 metres. The diameter is 30 centimeters. With the delivered amount of water you can also run a WC in your own garden without any problems. The costs for the professional construction of a drilled well amount to approximately 1,300 to 1,500 dollars.

driven well

Piling or impact wells are comparatively easy to install and can also be implemented at low cost. Ram wells are quite easy to construct yourself. For this you need an electric ram, which can be rented in specialized companies. This will push a metal pipe into the ground.

Attention: Check the depth of your groundwater level. This should not exceed a depth of seven metres for this type of well.

Usually a hand pump is used. So you don’t need an extra power source. The flow rate is rather low and is not sufficient, for example, to feed a WC in the garden. The delivery pipes have a limited service life and should be replaced approximately every six years, otherwise there is a high risk of the pipes becoming clogged. The costs for a ramming well are about 300 dollar.

dug wells

Put simply, the shaft well is a water hole. If you dig a hole on the beach, you will experience a similar effect, the water will seep again and again until it is at the same level as the groundwater level. In the Middle Ages many of these wells were found on castle grounds. Hence the name “Märchenbrunnen”. Schachtbrunnen, despite their longevity, have almost gone out of fashion today. If at all, they are only laid out with concrete rings. The amount of water pumped is relatively small. On the other hand there is a high price. The system can cost you up to 5,000 dollars.

well type advantages drawbacks
drilled wells
  • long-lasting
  • high flow rate
  • quite high costs (about 1.500 dollar)
driven well
  • easy to create
  • cheap to buy (about 300 dollar)
  • limited pumping distance
  • Conveyor tubes must be replaced
dug wells
  • low flow rate
  • high costs (around 5.000 dollar)

dig wells

If you look at the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of wells, it quickly becomes clear that a drilled well is best suited for your own garden.

Ideal location for the well

A drilled well will accompany you for many years. The location should therefore be well considered. The well should be installed where the groundwater is closest to the ground. Of course, the condition of the floor and the appearance also play a role. At its location, the well should not be perceived as disturbing. Practical aspects also play a role. You certainly don’t want to have to transport the water around the whole garden and the garden hose should also reach to the beds, shrubs or trees you want to irrigate with it after it has been connected to the well.

What do I need to drill to the well?

  • Augers (manual or electric)
  • Valve drill (plunger)

If you decide to use a manual drill, you will have to use muscle power. A device with motor support simplifies your work. Within a few hours, boreholes of ten meters and more can be drilled.

You will need a valve drill as soon as you have penetrated to the water-bearing sand layer. With a conventional drill you could theoretically continue working, but you would not be able to go further in depth in the foreseeable future because water is flushed into the side walls of the borehole again and again. A plunger is an open steel pipe which is lowered to the bottom and filled with sand. If the plunger is pulled up strongly, the bottom is closed by a hinged lid and the contents can be pulled up.

Step by step instructions

  1. select a suitable location
  2. dig a hole
  3. drill
  4. Drilling until they hit water
  5. Insert well pipe
  6. Insert plunger
  7. Connecting the pump

1 Once you have found the right spot for the well, grab the spade and dig a hole. This will make it easier for you to set the drill. Connect the drill to the mains or turn it clockwise completely. Do not apply pressure when drilling and drill slowly until you encounter groundwater.

2 Now insert a well pipe so that the borehole does not collapse again and again. An inexpensive sewer base pipe has proved its worth here. At the lower end of the pipe you should slit the material so that the water can flow in better later.

Tip: You can also use special well pipes equipped with filters.

3 Now continue working with the valve drill as already described. It will take some time until the well pipe is filled with groundwater. Therefore help with the garden hose and flood the pipe so that sufficient water is available.

4 Once access to the groundwater has been established, a pump is needed to bring the water to the surface. Suction or deep well pumps can be used. These can be placed above the ground.

Tip: The hose end of the pump should not reach to the bottom so that sand and soil are not sucked in.

Garden pumps can pump water from depths of about seven meters. Waterproof submersible pumps are an alternative. Garden pumps should be installed weatherproof or should be removed in winter and stored frost-proof.

Don Burke

I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide.  I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.

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