There’s been no sign yet this summer of a hosepipe ban, but we should all be thinking about ways to use less water – particularly the greenfingered among us, who have gardens to look after.
Here’s how you can cut down on the amount of fresh water you use this summer…
1. Water at certain times of the day
Water at specific times – early morning or dusk – to reduce evaporation. Don’t water in the heat of the day. Use water butts; put pots under hanging baskets so the overspill also waters plants below, and leave clippings on the lawn after mowing to retain moisture.
2. Avoid sprinklers
A sprinkler can use up to 1,000 litres of drinking water, or 220 gallons, in an hour. There are so many products on the market now to help us save water that there’s really no excuse not to, from controlled irrigation systems where sensors monitor the moisture in the soil and only water your plants when the soil really needs it, to bath water diverters which send all your ‘grey’ water to your water butt.
3. Don’t water established lawns
If we have a long, hot spell, your lawn may turn a bit brown, but it will recover with the autumn rains. Leave grass to grow a bit longer to preserve water and introduce drought-tolerant clovers, which will prevent the lawn from changing colour completely when a dry spell hits.
4. Buy the right plant for you
Some plants need more water than others, so if you’re planning a waterwise summer, make sure you’ve got the right plants for your garden. Avoid tropical flowers and aim to buy plants from your local area.
5. Recycle your water
Try to recycle water as a matter of course. Use a plastic bowl for washing up and then deposit the water on to your plants, as a small amount of washing up liquid isn’t going to hurt them.
6. Use the rain to water your plants
Up to 85,000 litres of rain falls on your roof each year, so install a water butt and use it to water your plants and wash your car.
7. Choose your plant placement wisely
Some more thirsty specimens in pots may benefit from being placed on a tray lined with capillary matting, which soaks up the water and then delivers the moisture to the roots, gradually when it’s needed.
Add a thick layer of mulch around your plants. That could be anything that will cover the soil sufficiently to prevent it from getting too hot. Leaves and bark work very well and they gradually break down towards winter. Other things could be pebbles, needles, straw, fruit pips or even newspaper.