Wonderful on Tap

Water-saving tips for gardeners

Ways you can use water wisely in your garden.

"Gardens have provided solace for many ... and the RHS is delighted to see a growing number of gardeners working on their gardens and green spaces during this time. We want to continue supporting gardeners from all around the UK especially those re-discovering their gardens, but also encourage everyone to think carefully about the water they’re using, particularly with all the sunshine we’ve been experiencing."
Janet Manning, RHS Water Management Specialist

4 easy ways to save

Use a watering can instead of a hose or sprinkler

A hose and sprinkler can use about 1000 litres an hour, equivalent to the same amount of water one person would normally use in a whole week.

Using a watering can reduce water usage significantly, and help you become more aware of the amount of water you use.

Be sure to water the base of your plants and not waste your effort or water spraying all the foliage as well. Most of this water simply evaporates.

Install a water butt to harvest rainwater

Harvesting rainwater reduces water use from your taps and is actually better for your plants.

It can also help reduce pressure on drains during periods of intense rain.

If you don’t have space for a water butt, you can improve the water holding capacity of your soil by adding organic materials such as homemade compost or well-rotted manure, so when it does rain, more water stays in the soil rather than draining away.

Lawns are more resilient than you think

In extended periods of summer drought, turf grasses turn brown and stop growing.

This often looks a lot worse than it actually is, and the lawn will usually recover rapidly with rain starts to fall again. It would take a really severe drought to actually kill off the lawn.

Most lawns recover rapidly with the onset of autumn rainfall, especially if appropriate autumn lawn care is given. While you can't prevent drought, you can take measures to prevent the damage drought causes your lawn.

Domestic waste water, known as 'grey water', can also be used in the garden.

Plants can be watered with shower, bath, kitchen and washing machine water (from rinse cycles), collectively referred to as ‘grey’ water.

It varies in quality and may contain some soap and detergent. Fortunately, soil and potting composts are effective at filtering them out, and the residues can sometimes act as a mild fertiliser.

When you're washing salad or fruit, you can save the water and re-use it in the garden. You can also use this for houseplants or container plants.

Fish tank water is also great for your plants. When you're cleaning your fish tank, the nutrients left in the water save the need to add extra fertiliser. 

Other ways to save

Best time to water

Water your garden in the early morning or late evening.

Avoid watering plants in the middle of the day, when it is warmest. Midday watering
means the majority of the water will evaporate and your garden won’t benefit.

Only water your house plants when they start to dry out. Over watering can kill them

Mulch

Mulch soil around plants with straw or bark.

This helps to prevent evaporation of water from the soil’s surface and also minimises the amount of water you need to water your plants.

This will also ward off slugs and prevent weeds from growing, which compete with your plants for water and nutrients.

The right plants

Some plants need less water and are easier to maintain.

Some plants thrive better in drier conditions. These tend to be plants that originate from warmer climates.

This also includes Lavender, Epimediums, Succulents and Nepeta. By choosing the right plants, you can relax more without needing to water as much!

Know your plants

Prioritise the plants that really need it.

Selective watering means only watering the plants that need it rather than the whole garden.

Prioritise young plants and seedlings; more established plants will survive longer periods without water