With the increasing risk of drought in recent years and with many parts of the country facing hosepipe bans, we’ve put together our top tips for saving water in your garden!
Use drip irrigation to deliver water efficiently where it is needed most. Prioritise your container plants and anything that's newly planted as these will need consistent watering for good growth. Most water companies will still allow drip irrigation during periods of water restrictions as it is such an efficient method of getting water to your plants. Check with your local authority to find out more. Click here to view our automatic drip irrigation kit.
Water your garden in the evening or early morning to minimise evaporation in the heat of the day. If you’re unable to set up an irrigation system, water only around the base of the plants so that water is directed straight to the roots, not wasted on the leaves. Early morning watering gives your plants a chance to dry off during the day, which can help prevent fungal diseases and reduce slug damage over night.
Improve your soil by working in organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure. Organic matter acts like a sponge to retain water and will also help improve soil fertility.
Mulch around your plants using organic matter, wood chips, slate chips or gravel. Mulches reduce the amount of water lost through evaporation at the soil surface. Only mulch your garden between the autumn and spring, after seasonal rains have thoroughly soaked the soil.
Established lawns will turn brown during periods of drought as the plants stop growing to conserve water. Lawns will start to grow again when autumn rain and cooler weather arrives. Don’t cut your lawn too short as longer grass will send down deeper roots, and will also provide more shade to the soil.
Collect rainwater from the roof of your greenhouse, shed, garage or house using water butts. You can also re-use ‘grey water’ from your bath or washing up bowl to water your plants.
Use water-retaining granules in your containers and baskets. Water-retaining granules such as ‘Swellgel’ can be mixed into the compost before planting up your containers and baskets. These granules will absorb large amounts or water which are slowly released to the plants throughout the day.
Weed your garden regularly to reduce competition for precious water.
Shelter your plants from the drying effects of the wind. Place containers and thirsty plants close to walls and fences to help reduce evaporation by wind.
Use large containers rather than lots of small pots. Large volumes of compost are better able to retain moisture, remaining cooler throughout the day than compost in small pots. Also try using plastic or glazed pots instead of unglazed terracotta, which is very porous and will dry the compost quickly.
Choose the right plants for your garden. If your soil is sandy and prone to drying out quickly, choose drought tolerant plants which can cope with the dry conditions. Plants which have adapted to growing in these conditions often have sticky, hairy, silver/grey, waxy, scented or succulent leaves. Click here to find out more about drought tolerant plants.
Water plants thoroughly - deep watering every few days encourages plants to develop a deep root system. Light watering encourages roots to grow at the soil surface and can make plants more susceptible to drought.
Use drip irrigation to deliver water efficiently where it is needed most.
Organic matter acts like a sponge to retain water and will also help improve your soil fertility.
Water plants thoroughly - deep watering every few days encourages plants to develop a deep root system