How to Compact Soil With a Water Hose

Gardeners and backyard home improvement enthusiasts alike can find themselves needing a quick and cost-effective way of tamping down soil before or after a project. Whether you are planting trees or shrubs, settling the ground around newly installed garden edging or planning to put in pavers for a new walkway, using a water hose to compact soil is a cost-effective way to get the job done without the need to rent or buy specialized tamping equipment.

Compact soil around newly planted trees to prevent airpockets in the rootball.

Step 1

Level the area of soil you wish to compact with a rake, shovel or broom.

Step 2

Remove any gardening or construction remnants such as rocks, weeds or other debris from the surface of the soil.

Step 3

Walk on the area to be compacted with your heaviest pair of work boots or old sneakers, as your body’s weight will help tamp down the soil. Be sure you step on the entire area.

Step 4

Attach a nozzle to your water hose that will diffuse the spray and avoid disturbing the soil.

Step 5

Turn on the water supply to the hose and wet the area to compact. Use enough water to thoroughly wet the ground without causing puddles.

Step 6

Wait until the water has completely settled into the dirt, then use the water hose to wet the soil a second time, being careful to stop before puddles form.

Step 7

Walk over the area again in your boots or sneakers. You can place a piece of cardboard from a flattened box under your feet if you want to avoid getting your feet muddy.

Step 8

Re-level the soil with your rake and re-wet with the water hose as necessary until the ground is level and compacted.

Alex Gardner

Alex Gardner is a freelance writer and researcher who lives and works in suburban Detroit. Since 2005, she has written extensively on sociological and psychological topics for private clients, and currently writes for LIVESTRONG.COM Lifestyles, and She holds a Master of Arts in English from Wayne State University.