A watering hose is a garden hose which is specifically designed for watering plants. There are a number of versions of the watering hose design which are meant to serve a variety of needs, and most garden supply stores carry a range for consumers to choose from. It is also possible to use a generic hose which has been fitted with watering attachments.
Several features distinguish a watering hose. The first is length. Watering hoses need to be long to allow gardeners to reach all of the corners of the garden without having to constantly switch spigots. Especially in a large garden, length can be a major consideration, as the plants in the far corners of the garden may suffer if a hose is not quite long enough. Watering hoses must also be highly flexible, with sturdy designs which allow the hose to endure temperature extremes and the elements, since many people like to leave their watering hoses outside.
Plastics are common materials for watering hoses, since they are durable and flexible. Some companies make braided hoses which are even more sturdy, albeit slightly more expensive. Perforated foam watering hoses are designed for use in drip irrigation, with the gardener laying the hose out in a flower bed and then turning the water on to allow water to slowly trickle through the hose to the plants. Flat watering hoses tend to kink less, in addition to being easier to roll up for storage.
Most watering hoses are also designed to be fitted with attachments. While gardeners can water directly from the end of the hose, many like to mount various hose heads on to control the flow and distribution of water. Watering houses can also be equipped with sprinklers, allowing the gardener to water a large area of the garden with a well-positioned hose and sprinkler. Other attachments can simulate rain, or connect with bottles of fertilizers to deliver nutrition and water to plants as the garden is watered.
Ideally, a watering hose should be rolled up after use, preferably in the shade so that sunlight will not damage the housing of the hose. Hose storage reels designed for rolling gardening hoses are available from some gardening stores, along with simple hooks and loops which rolled hoses can be hung on. One of the advantages of a reel is that it encourages a hose to roll up neatly without developing kinks and bends, unlike a loop, which can tend to promote folding and cracking of the hose over time.