I installed drip irrigation for the first time this spring and I will never turn back. It's that good! The plants have grown so much better this year, as compared to last. And the best part - I don't have to spend hours with the hose, wondering if I've watered long enough yet. I don't even have to think about it now, the drip lines are on a timer. The slow, deep watering is the closest thing you can get to a soaking, gentle rain.
I'm sure some people are afraid of the "plumbing skills" required to install drip. I know I was! But it's really not that difficult. Really.
The simplest type of drip line attaches directly to your spigot. You can get a splitter, so you still have a place for your hose, etc.
Or, if you have an underground system of PVC, you can attach your drip to that line. That's what I have in the main vegetable garden in the backyard.
There are lots of websites that show you how to install the system properly. Just google "how to install drip irrigation". I learned a lot here. But don't let that website make you think it's too complicated. It's not.
I spent less than $100 on my system. I really like the "drip tape" that has emitters pre-installed. (Emitters are sophisticated holes where the water comes out.) Plastic pipe with pre-installed emitters means that you don't have to spend hours trying to insert little plastic emitters into your 1/2" plastic pipe. I did just this for the greenhouse. Trust me, it's no fun. The drip line that I installed in the vegetable garden this year comes with emitters spaced every 18", which seems to work just fine. You can buy little T and L fittings and endcaps.
I water for 2 hours twice a week - actually the timer and drip line do the watering, not me. That might be too much for some people with clay soil, but I have very sandy soil. One of my lines (in the front yard) is currently not attached to a timer. So I'll warn you that I've been known to turn it on and forget about it. Two hours comes and goes and I've totally forgotten. Sometimes I've watered for 24 hours - not good. I've learned to set a timer on the microwave (or any other time-keeping device) to remind me to shut it off.
If you get a lot of rain in your area throughout the year, then lucky you! But for the rest of us, drip is the way to go. Especially in CA, where we basically have a monsoon climate with lots of rain in the winter and not a drop for the whole summer.
Go on, get your drip on!