As climate change continues to dominate headlines and cause concern around the world, we are all being encouraged to do our bit to help mitigate against its effects and preserve our precious natural resources. Most precious of all is water – the average UK household uses almost 350 litres of it every day. Watering plants can take up a fair bit of this daily amount, especially in warmer temperatures. The good news, however, is that there are plenty of ways to save water in the garden.
Top Tips To Use Less Water In Garden
As with many things these days, working out how to save water in the garden is more about working ‘smart’ than working hard. In other words, there are many ways to cut down on the amount of water we use without having to compromise on the health and wellbeing of your flowers, lawns, produce, shrubs and trees.
Here are 7 ideas that you can put in place right now, in time for the (hopefully) warmer climes of summer.
1. Check what needs watering – and how much Not all plants need watering – and often, those that do need far less water than you might think. Prioritise plants in containers, hanging baskets and pots, as these cannot access groundwater and may not be exposed to as much rainfall as other parts of the garden. Before starting to water a plant, touch the soil or compost it is growing in to see how moist it is. It could be that access to water and can be skipped this time.
- Direct the water to the right place Pour water right into the base of the plant from low down, rather than lifting the watering can too high. This gets it right to where it will do the most good – near the roots. If too much water is dripped all over the leaves and flowers etc., not only will this waste more of it, but it could bruise or scorch more delicate parts of the plant, especially if the sun is very hot that day. Don’t let potted plants sit in saucers full of water for too long as this can rot the roots and stunt growth. Re-use the collected water elsewhere in the garden.
- Choose drought-tolerant plants to cut down on water
Plan your planting schemes carefully. Go for plants that do not require lots and lots of water to thrive. Grasses are great options for this, as well as many herbs, woody shrubs and trees like lavender, rosemary, buddleia and eucalyptus. Many drought-tolerant plants only require a decent watering once a week in summer – and even less frequently at other times of the year.
- Protect and preserve the water you do use Keep hosepipes in good condition to prevent knots and kinks from hindering water flow. Use anti-kink products to smooth out any bends or kinks to get the best possible performance out of your hose or sprinkler system. Add a thick layer of mulch or gravel around plants to keep in the moisture and minimise water evaporation once the plant has been watered, or after a fall of rain.
- Set up some savvy storage Collecting rainwater is something that anyone can do – not just school pupils measuring rainfall. Any container will do, from larger water butts and tanks to jars, bowls and jugs. This water can be used on a dryer day to water plants and keep them ticking over until the next instance of wet weather. You can also save lightly-used water from cleaning veg or washing dishes for watering the garden, which will help relieve the pressure on people’s demand for mains water.
- Timetable your watering routines for the best effect Expert gardeners tend to recommend watering plants towards the end of the day and dusk when temperatures are cooler and the sun is not so strong. This will also help prevent water evaporation and will keep it exactly where it is needed so it can seep down into the ground to benefit the deeper roots. Working at cooler times of day makes walking, bending, collecting and carrying water a lot easier for weary gardeners too.
- Consider irrigation for larger-scale watering Bigger gardens that need watering frequently over a wider area could benefit from irrigation systems. Many of these systems use recycled or rainwater for added sustainability benefits and the water is distributed more evenly and efficiently across plants and crops to prevent waste. Irrigation systems can be put on a timer so that they turn on and off as required and cannot be forgotten or left pouring out water after the cycle is complete.