Most of us gardeners have grown up using traditional pipe garden hoses – the round ones that resemble over-sized spaghetti. We’ve fought with the kinks, the wanton disobedience when trying to wrap them up and even questioned the amount of lead that some contain. They are the quintessential tool in our yards but they could be usurped by the growing demand for a flat garden hose.
Yes, the flat garden hose already exists – and have done so for a few decades. But their popularity has never taken off for a number of reasons. First, the initial options were cheap and of poor quality. They were very easily punctured and fittings and repair kits were either unavailable or hard to obtain. Most of the offerings were plastic and seamed with glue which meant they didn’t take long to leak or rupture completely.
The second reason for their lack of market penetration as they were too darned hard to roll up. In the packet they looked “snug as a bug” but once you’ve used them it was like trying to get a tent back into it’s original bag – not going to happen!
However, today’s flat garden hose is a distant cousin – one that’s less recognisable and holds fewer remnants of the family’s genetic pool. Nowadays they’re tougher, better constructed and have most of their problems ironed out. But can they compete with our round garden hoses?
What are the Pros and Cons of the Flat Garden Hose?
- As their name suggests, they’re flat. This makes it easier to pull out from a reel and also to pack up. Without a reel you’re probably wasting your time as these will curl and contort better than a swami trying to escape a straight jacket. But their flat-ness gives them the benefit of saving space.
- They can handle being run over much better than their round counterparts. If you often have to cross a driveway with a hose and chances of it being straddled by the family car are common, then this is the hose for you.
- More resistant to kinks. They’re not completely impervious to the odd kink especially if you let your children play with it but they seem to be less likely to contract this dreaded hose disease.
- Usually cheaper. For some reason it seems that the construction of round walls on a garden hose require more architecture and therefore increase the price. These flat alternatives offer just as strong construction but without all the fabric inlays that keep normal hoses round.
- One of the big downsides of the flat garden hose is the ease in which it can be punctured. The prong of a garden fork may bounce off a round hose but it will always sink deep into the surface area of the flat option. Most hoses are becoming tougher these days but it still pays to be mindful where they in the garden.
- Flat garden hoses don’t go around corners too well. Obviously due to their shape they’re not as maneuverable as their round peers so meandering through garden beds, landscape features and the like can often be fraught with problems – and make them more vulnerable punctures. In a straight line these hoses are perfect but corners and curves seem to throw them a little.
Storing a flat garden hose
As mentioned earlier, trying to store a flat garden hose without a reel is almost not worth the effort. They are very difficult to keep in any orderly form without one but are much easier to store than a round hose when a reel is provided. Like any hose, the flat option is best stored away from harmful UV rays and out of the weather.
Provided you look after it well, a flat garden hose should last as long, if not longer, than the traditional round hose.
I’ve added a new page completely dedicated to flat garden hoses at my Garden Hose Astore if you’re interested in seeing what products are now available.