Taming the garden snake: How to coil a hose

“This tool, this thing of beauty, this garden hose holds so much promise.”Tom Harvey, “Don’t Fight with the Garden Hose and Other Lessons I’ve Learned, 2013

In Sunday’s column (July 31, 2017), I wrote about the gardener’s love/hate relationship with the watering hose. We certainly can’t live without them, but we’re plagued daily with tangled, kinky hoses that somehow reach up from the ground and trip us up as we innocently go about our watering tasks. Is there no end to this misery?


First, look for garden hoses that are made from “no memory” materials so the hose is not expecting to be coiled the same way every time. I learned this problem is even more challenging when there are two gardeners in the family and one is right-handed and one is left-handed. This is the case for Jerry and me – he’s a righty and I’m a lefty!

Second, be sure to detach the garden hose from the spigot before coiling it. I’ve found this simple step is important!

Third, stretch out the garden hose flat on the ground before coiling.

Now, there are a few different fourth steps that can be taken. Some gardeners say to begin coiling the hose clockwise while twisting the hose away from you at the same time.

Other gardeners say to use a technique where you coil the hose one way for the first loop and then alternate it for the next loop by coiling it the opposite way.

Other gardeners say to start coiling from the end of the hose rather than the front.

Still other gardeners say to roll a study (rubber) hose into coils rather than wrap them. After laying the hose flat, make your first loop with the nozzle end, fasten the loop securely with a short bungee cord and roll up the hose as you walk it to the storage location.

Try using a combination of these techniques to see which one works best for you. Or invest in a hose reel that allows you to wind up your hose using a lever. Best Consumer Reviews provides a review of the best hose reels on the market. Garden Products Review also offers recommendations for hose reels and garden hoses.

In his book, Tom Harvey observes that there are two options gardeners can take when the hose, inevitably, kinks. We can either practice the Wild West Lasso Whip, which often results in injury to ourselves or innocent bystanders. Or, as Harvey recommends, we can remain calm and meditate our way to empathy and even friendship with our garden hose. He writes, ”Find your inner peace and calmly unkink the hose, for Human Logic dictates that the hose is an inanimate object! It doesn’t have a brain. It’s not trying to piss you off! Be the bigger of the two and you’ll be better off.”

Happy hosing, literary gardeners!

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  • About the Author

    Rhonda Nowak

    Rhonda Nowak is a Rogue Valley gardener, writer and teacher. With more than 25 years of gardening experience and a Ph.D. in literature and language arts education, she combines a love for plants, poetry, and prose in her Literary Gardener blog. ... Full Profile
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