A well-trained hose
Hose guard
A hose with a hose guard at the end

As a professional gardener, I use garden hoses a lot, and I’ve seen my share of kinks, leaks and hoses that can’t be recoiled neatly. To me, the job is complete when the garden is weed-free and well-watered — with the hose coiled and ready for next time. If asked, my coworkers might say I’m a bit obsessive about getting the hose rolled up after each use. Here are my tips to ensure leak-free watering and a tidy coil:

  • When connecting hoses and attachments, make sure the washers inside the female end are fully seated. And if the washer looks worn out, replace it. You can find garden hose washers at a hardware store.
  • Align and tighten the connections carefully to prevent cross-threading. If you need to connect and disconnect frequently, consider adding quick-connect fittings.If the hose has a guard to prevent kinks, do not use the guard to tighten connections; instead, grasp the hose itself to ensure a good seal.
  • When you are finished using the hose, do not leave it “charged.” In other words, turn off the hose at the spigot and release the pressure at the other end by removing attachments or opening valves. A relaxed hose is much easier to work with. What’s more, this will help extend the life of your hose and prevent ruptures.
Before trying to coil the hose, turn off the water at the spigot.
  • To coil up a hose, pull the entire hose straight to remove any twists and kinks; then roll it up. Even better: Put the far end of the hose downhill so it drains as you roll it up.
  • Do not store a hose with kinks in it. Otherwise, the kinks might become permanent.
  • Always coil your hose in the same direction — either clockwise or counterclockwise. Use a hose reel to make coiling easier and more consistent.
  • If you have trouble getting a neat coil, make it a larger in diameter. Larger circles (or ovals) are more relaxed and keep their shape.
  • If possible, drain the hose as you coil it. If left in the hot sun, a water-filled hose can burst.
  • In winter, disconnect and drain hoses before storing them. If possible, store them in a frost-free location.
  • Always buy the best quality hose you can afford. Cheap hoses are more likely to kink, leak and rupture.

David Grist, landscape designer and former employee-owner