There are a few good reasons to save water in your garden, which include saving money if you’re on a water meter as well as being better for the environment. It is especially important to save water in the summer months as when water is in peak demand suppliers can be forced to use groundwater and water from streams, which can result in environmental damage as well as causing a rise in the cost of water. Here are some of our top tips for saving water in the garden this summer.
The way you water your plants can make a big difference to the amount of water used. It’s more economical to use a watering can than a hosepipe, except on mature roses (as the majority of the water won’t reach the roots where it’s most needed). Placing upside down plastic bottles with the cap removed and bottom cut off in the ground alongside plants can also help direct water to the roots.
It’s best to water at a cooler time of day as if you water during the heat of the day a lot of the water will evaporate before it reaches the roots. Using mulch and bark around plants will help to reduce evaporation and make a surprisingly big difference. Another tip is to water well but less frequently, as watering little and often can encourage roots to grow closer to the surface and weaken plants.
Using Grey Water and Rainwater
Rather than using drinking water from the taps, try to use sources of water that would otherwise go to waste. For instance,waterbutts help save and make the most of excess rainwater which would otherwise drain away. When your waterbutt is full after a good rainstorm, fill up all your watering cans or other useful containers so that if it rains again there is more room in the butt to collect it.
You can also use water from the bath and the water you’ve used to rinse things in the sink to water your garden with (though don’t use bath water to water vegetables, fruit or herbs that are going to be eaten). If you connect a rainwater collector and water butt to the bathroom waste pipe you can collect bath water automatically.
Opting for plants that are drought tolerant will mean they need to be watered less often. Annuals tend to need a lot more water than perennials, which have the winter to soak their roots over a longer period and often need less watering as a result.
Water seedlings and young plants over more established ones, which can survive for longer without being watered, and don’t forget to weed regularly so that your water is not being wasted on them rather than your plants.
Those of you with lawns know that keeping it lush can also use a lot of water. When it’s hot and dry it helps to mow the lawn less often as if the grass is longer it can cope with dry spells more easily and also keeps the soil more moist. As with your other plants, an occasional good soak is more effective than a regular light sprinkling. However, you don’t need to panic if your lawn does go brown during the hotter months as once it starts raining again the lawn will usually recover.
These small changes can make a big difference to the amount of water you use during the summer months while still keeping your garden looking lush.