On average, the water we use in the garden makes up about 6% of our daily use, but on hot days this can soar to 70%.
This is mainly due to sprinklers that can use as much water in an hour as a family of six in one day.
Here are our top ten tips for saving water in the garden:
1. Use water wisely on your lawn
Although they do turn brown during a dry period, your lawn will soon become green and lush again after rain.
More expert advice from Turfgrass Growers Association
How to use water wisely on your lawn
2. Use water efficient plant varieties
Geranium Reflection, Gaillardia and Verbena and Ptilotus Exaltatus Joey are superb varieties for dry conditions and will add colour and texture to your garden.
Find water efficient plants
3. Install a Drip or Trickle Irrigation System
Drip irrigation delivers the slow release of water and places it at the root of the plant where it is needed most. It is 90% more efficient than using a hosepipe fitted with a sprinkler or spray gun.
4. Harvest rainwater to ensure your garden doesn’t go thirsty
Plants much prefer rainwater as it is generally untreated. Fix a diverter from any downspout into a water butt and you can use this for watering the garden or cleaning the car. Large capacity rainwater tanks can be sunk into the ground and pumped to wherever you need it.
Buy a water butt for your garden
5. Water in the late evening or early morning to reduce evaporation
This will also allow more time for the water to soak into the ground.
6. Use mulch to retain water and keep weeds at bay
Mulching and the use of semi-permeable membranes or geotextiles will help to retain water in the soil; this will also limit weed growth. Always remove weeds as they divert water away from your moisture-needing plants.
7. Use compost to cultivate the soil
When planting new or young plants, use plenty of organic matter, compost or well-rotted manure added to deeply cultivate soil. This will improve soil structure, water retention and availability for your plants.
8. Recycle water from your household
Water from your bath/shower, laundry and kitchen waste water (collectively known as ‘grey’ water) is an effective method of watering your plants, as soil will filter out any soaps or detergents. However - don’t use this on edible crops and do not use water that has been used with bleach and disinfectants. When using greywater, make sure and direct it at the roots of the plants and don’t sprinkle over the plant leaves themselves.
Find products for collecting grey water
9. Create a Zen or Mediterranean-style garden
Gravel gardening is a low maintenance option for gardening and great if you have sandy or gravelly soil. A pretty Mediterranean effect can be achieved with decorative aggregates and is another way of adding colour.
10. Special care for your hanging baskets and containers
Improve water retention in the compost by adding water-storing crystals to the mix; this will reduce the need to water regularly. When watering baskets and containers use a watering can with a rose (sprinkling head), remember to water the stems at the base of the plant and not the leaves this ensures the water gets to exactly where it is needed. Place a saucer under your container to prevent wasteful run off and will mean less time spent watering.