We rely on water every day. But our population is growing fast, and climate change is bringing greater risk of floods and drought. This puts pressure on our water supply. As a result, we have less water to go round. We can use less by making small changes to the way we care for our gardens.
Ways to save water in the garden
- Fit a water butt – water your garden for free by collecting rainwater in a water butt. Each one holds up to 200 litres of water which you can use around your garden. Rainwater is rich in nutrients, so your plants will love it too.
- Leave your lawn – lawns go brown in dry weather, but they soon bounce back after rainfall. So, they don’t need watering in between. However, you can retain the lawn’s moisture for longer by giving the roots some shade – try trimming your grass slightly longer during dry spells and leave the cuttings on the ground.
- Spread some mulch – apply a thick layer of mulch, compost or chip bark on your soil between plants to help keep the moisture in and suppress weeds.
- Recycle water – you can use cooled bath, shower or washing-up water to water your plants. Just make sure it's not too greasy and avoid re-using water containing strong cleaning products.
- Water by can – rather than soaking your garden with a sprinkler or a hose which gushes 16 litres of water a minute, fill a watering can and give the garden a gentle sprinkle. If any water is left over, save it for another day – this can save you £300 year. If you do use a hose, fit a trigger gun to save water and up to £210 a year on your bills.
- Sponge your car – a hose pipe sprays 16 litres of water a minute. Next time you wash your car, use a bucket and sponge instead. If the water isn’t too soapy, you can use it to water your garden afterwards.
- Time your watering – water your plants in the early morning or evening when the temperature is cooler and less water is lost to evaporation. Give plants a good soaking once or twice a week in dry weather rather than light, daily watering.
- Water the roots – when you water your plants, aim directly at the roots rather than scattering water on the leaves. Plants soak up water from the soil, so water on the leaves will only evaporate and go to waste. Remember, established trees, shrubs and lawns don't need watering.
- Use a broom – instead of using a hose to clean your patio, pathway or drive, use a broom to sweep away unwanted leaves, branches, grit and grime.
- Weed regularly – weeds compete with other plants for nutrients and water. Weeding regularly allows your plants to soak up more goodness for themselves.
- Paddle responsibly – Using the pool to keep cool? Give it a little top-up each day instead of refilling it every time.
- Pressure washers – some water butts can be attached to pressure washers, so you can clean your property for free using rainwater collected in your water butt.
Water efficient plants
Did you know that many plants can thrive with minimal watering? So, you can create a garden that is both beautiful and uses less water.
Take a look at the handy plant guide by Waterwise to discover water-efficient plants for every position, soil type and flowering time.