12 Easy DIY Hydroponic Systems You Can Build Right Now

12 Easy DIY Hydroponic Systems You Can Build Right Now

What comes to your mind when you hear about growing plants without soil? Yeah, I know the idea looks too futuristic or almost impossible but it is definitely not.

With a simple DIY hydroponic garden, you can cultivate almost anything including fresh fruits and vegetables without soil.

There are plenty of hydroponic garden projects to try out. So, here are some great plans to help you get started.

If you like these free hydroponic system plans, you may also like ones for building a grow boxplanter boxraised garden bedgarden container, tower garden, aquaponic systemcold frameLED grow lightplant standpotting bench, drip irrigation system

4-Step Re-circulating Hydroponics for Large Plants

This is probably the easiest homemade hydroponic system in this guide.

Unlike most hydroponic systems that only allow you to cultivate small plants, this one enables you to grow large plants and for long-term growth.

Not to mention, most of the materials needed for the set-up are affordable and readily available.

Some of the materials you might need include a small fountain pump, plastic window screening, two stackable containers, 1/2 inch PVC pipe and of course plants.

Lucky you if you are familiar working with PVC pipes. You will definitely find this hydroponic project a piece of cake.

2. Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) Hydroponic

Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) Hydroponic

At first glance, you might be tempted to think this DIY hydroponic system is quite complex to set up. But it is not so long as you follow all the instructions keenly.

However, it is definitely not a homemade hydroponic system for beginners because it requires a lot of patience.

Furthermore, it is highly cost-effective because most of the materials can be sourced from a local hardware store with minimal parts sourced from online.

The design incorporates plywood, PVC pipes, sawhorse brackets, a submersible pump and pump bag.

Like with most projects, if you don’t have the necessary skills, this system can take-up much of your time and energy.

3. Simple Flood and Drain Hydroponic

Simple Flood and Drain Hydroponic

Also known as Ebb and flow hydroponic, this system can be built to fit in any space you might have both indoors and outdoors.

The system might seem complex to beginners because it requires many different components, but it is not.

It is at an intermediate level of difficulty, relatively low cost to set up and can be assembled in very little time.

Besides how easy it is for anyone to build this DIY indoor hydroponics, you can use almost any materials you’ve laying around your home to build it.

This includes lighting system, planting cups, reservoir tank, air pump and a garden hose.

4. The 11-Step Beginners Hydroponics

The 11-Step Beginners Hydroponics

This is can be a cheap or expensive homemade hydroponic depending on where you source your materials.

If you choose to buy a multi-plant kit from a local supplier, it is definitely going to cost you a lot.

But if you really want to save, it is advisable to take your time to collect the materials slowly or improvise and create your own kit.

You will need parts like an air hose, an opaque container, aquarium air pump, rock-wool and mesh pots. These materials can cost you around $30.

Moreover, the hydroponic design is very easy to do particularly for someone just starting out or on a shoe-string budget. 

5. Rain Tower Vertical Hydroponic

Rain Tower Vertical Hydroponic

This homemade hydroponic system is made using a five-gallon bucket plus a lid, a PVC fence post, a PVC pipe, a pump and of course a timer.

All the materials are readily available at any hardware store. But the best part is that it takes up very little space and requires little maintenance.

However, it can be quite expensive compared to the rest of the designs in this guide.

The design can cost you around $500 or less if you are very good at improvising. In addition, it is time consuming hence not ideal beginners.

6. Easy to Build 5-Gallon Bucket Hydroponic Drip System

Easy to Build 5-Gallon Bucket Hydroponic Drip System

Looking to build your own hydroponic systems but don’t know where to start? Well, for starters if you are on a budget, this homemade hydroponic is a good place to start.

You can assemble the entire system with less than $100.

Actually, if you have most the materials around the house like the buckets, spray paint cans, furnace filter, and fountain pump, you can spend around $60 and $80.

The design is not only easy to build, but also highly functional, expandable and customizable as well. In addition, it is ideal for growing bigger plants that require more root space.

7. The Two-Liter and One-Liter Bottle Solar Thermally Pumped Hydroponic

The Two-Liter and One-Liter Bottle Solar Thermally Pumped Hydroponic

Most hydroponic designs require you to invest in a lighting system to make the pump run. However, this system’s pump relies on the sun to run which is more cost-effective.

Basically, to build this hydroponic you will need a one-liter bottle, two-liter bottle, tape, superglue, black paint, and caps.

These materials can easily be sourced from the house, which makes it a cheap project.

Besides, it is quite easy to assemble especially for beginners. The only downside is that it may not function optimally during the winters.

8. Basic PVC Hydroponics

Basic PVC Hydroponics

A basic homemade PVC hydroponic system can be built using the basic tools often found within any household.

The rest of materials needed can easily be found in on online stores at a reasonable price.

All you need is PVC pipes, glue, PVC primer, pump hose, PVC elbows, duct tape, sawhorses and some plastic cups.

However, the important thing when building this design is knowing how to cut the PVC pipes properly and gluing the cut parts together.

Also, it is recommended to drill the plant holes correctly to avoid system leakage.

Overall, this should be an easy to build PVC hydroponics. But you should take your time to understand every detail on how to set it up to avoid costly mistakes.

9. The 5-Gallon Bucket Deep Water Culture (DWC) Hydroponic System

The 5-Gallon Bucket Deep Water Culture (DWC) Hydroponic System

Designed for growing small to medium size plants, this system is one of the simplest and cheapest DIY hydroponics to build.

With $20, you can have your own hydroponic and in a very short period.

You simply need to collect a five-gallon bucket with a lid, white and black spray paint, aquarium air pump, a small plastic pot, and aquarium air stone to get started.

With very few components needed, it is not only inexpensive but also very easy and fast to set up as well.

10. Simple and Cost-Effective Net Pot/ Basket DIY Hydroponics

Simple and Cost-Effective Net Pot/ Basket DIY Hydroponics

Building your own DIY hydroponic system does not get easier than this. For this design, you will need a recycled plastic soda bottle and nylon mesh (commonly used as packaging materials).

With the few materials required for its initial set-up, this design is not only simple and easy but also very cost effective.

You might not even spend a single dime. And if you have to buy the nylon mesh, then you will spend less than $5. The only cost head to worry about is for the hydroponic nutrients.

Not to mention, the design is very flexible as it can fit many different sized holes.

11. 2-Liter Bottle Hydroponic System

2-Liter Bottle Hydroponic System

Who said that hydroponic projects are only for adults? Even kids can take part in building DIY indoor hydroponics as part of science projects.

And what better homemade hydroponic for kids to try out than this 2 Liter Bottle Hydroponic System. It is both easy and inexpensive to build.

Furthermore, it requires a few materials for the initial set-up including 2-liter bottle, wicks, growing media, aluminum foil, and scissors.

So, overall, it costs between $57 and $75. What’s more, the garden is very easy to take care of. You just need to follow the guidelines provided and you will have healthy plants.

12. The Compact, Expandable and Cheap Homemade Hydroponics

The Compact, Expandable and Cheap Homemade Hydroponics

If you are working on a tight budget, this hydroponic project is a good place to start. Its initial set up can cost you around $20, which is relatively cheap.

This could be accomplished with the help of few items such as an empty 2-liter bottle, aquarium pump, silicone sealant, 3-pack of Ziploc screw top containers, light timer and straight connector.

As the name suggests, this homemade hydroponic system is expandable just in case you may want to grow some more plants.

Also, it is easy to manage so if you have a busy schedule or are a college student, it can be a great addition.

Building your own hydroponic designs is both a fun and an inexpensive way for agricultural enthusiasts to expand their knowledge. What’s more, it offers great monetary savings in the long-run.

Not to mention, these systems can be built from materials commonly found around the house, online or at a local hardware store.

But as with any construction project, building a homemade hydroponic is much easier if you have the right tools for the job.

So, what are you waiting for? Have fun trying out any of these DIY hydroponic designs and get growing!