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Small family garden SE15, design stage

Long and narrow garden in SE22

Updated 24th April 2012

Gardening Tips

How to make your garden hosepipe ban-proof & 10 tips to be water-wise in your garden

We’ve compiled this list to encourage you to use water in a responsible manner but also to help your plants to thrive and establish properly:

  1. Always water in the evening to minimise evaporation
  2. Always check weather forecast before watering to make sure you’re not going to water if showers are expected!
  3. Be sure to deliver water directly to the base of plants.
  4. Improve your soil by forking in 2-3” (5-7cm) of well-rotted organic matter pre-planting and/or apply the same thickness as a mulch.
  5. Don’t worry about established lawns turning brown. This shows the grass has stopped growing, but most lawns will recover completely when the rain returns.
  6. Don’t cut lawns too short, as longer grass sends down deeper roots and provides more shade
  7. Collect rainwater off greenhouse, shed, garage and house roofs in water butts
  8. Collect and re-use grey water from the bath or kitchen sink to water plants
  9. Keep borders well weeded as weeds compete for moisture
  10. When planning your garden, choose plants that are right for the existing site and soil conditions.
  11. Planning and preparation is key for your garden to survive future weather challenges whether it’s drought or floods.

How much water and how often?

Watering is the most basic gardening task but few people get it right. There is an art to it. Most people either water too much or not enough.

Water your established plants only if the weather has been particularly dry for a long period of time or during unusually hot weather. Water them when they start to show signs of stress. Not before.. but not too late either.

Water your pots once a week maximum. Better to water thoroughly and at intervals rather than a little everyday. The latter will only encourage plants to develop roots at the surface and rely on you for their needs.

Same goes for rest of your garden. Give your plants a good soak and encourage them to develop deep roots to fetch water for themselves.

Make sure you water your plants enough:

Make a test with a smallish pot. Water as you would water normally and then check the soil at the bottom. If it’s dry and only the top inches are wet, you’re not watering enough. The aim is to encourage plants to develop roots to fetch water deep by themselves, not to develop roots at the surface.

Make sure you don’t water too much:

Do not mollycoddle your plants. Water new plants for the first 4 weeks and then let them getting on with it. This way they will develop roots to go and fetch for water as opposed to rely on you. Trees need up to 2 years to establish.