5 Ways to save water in the garden

Water wastage is a huge issue in the UK and our garden could be huge drain on our water resources. Here, Scott Hawthorne shares five tips to help reduce your water usage.

gardening water waste

Perversly, this week, thunderstorms and all, is Water Saving Week in the UK, an annual event which aims to raise awareness of the issues around water use.

In the UK, the average person uses 142 litres of water a day. However, only 35% of UK adults say they try to save as much water as possible.

As summer approaches, it’s important to consider how to save water in our gardens, as at peak demand, up to 70% of our water supply can be used here.

From the obvious offenders to the lesser-known water drains, here are five ways to reduce your water usage in the garden.

reuse household water
Think of ways you can reuse household water

Recycle household water

Water from the home, commonly known as ‘greywater’, can be used to water your plants. This could be your washing up water, or water from your bath or shower.

However, it’s important to be careful when using this water. If this is something you opt to do, try swapping your washing up liquid or cosmetics to ecological, plant-based options to ensure harmful chemicals aren’t making their way on to your garden.

If you do think your greywater may contain some chemicals, leave the water to stand for a little while before using it to allow microorganisms to break down these ingredients.

grass clippings
You don’t have to be brutal when cutting the lawn. Cut frequently and leave the clippings

Grasscycling

Grasscycling is the practice of reusing grass clippings as opposed to discarding them. Grass clippings are often seen as a chore by gardeners, a waste product which needs to be bagged up and removed for the bin or compost heap.

However, your grass clippings can hold essential nutrients that will make for a healthy lawn. In fact, grass clippings can hold up to 30% of your lawn’s required nutrients.

As they decompose, grass clippings release water and nutrients back into your lawn’s soil, provide shade, and slow down the formation of thatch. Meaning you’ll need less water for your lawn in the long run.

If you want to try grasscycling in your own garden, remove no more than one third of each blade of grass, mow your lawn when dry, and mow often to prevent build-up.

Collect rainwater
Fit a water butt to a drain pipe to make use of rain water

Collect rainwater

Even in the driest areas 24,000 litres of rainwater could be harvested from our roofs each year. Rainwater is a great asset for gardeners as it has a lower PH and is softer than our tap water. It’s also free, meaning it could reduce your water bill too!

You can collect rainwater from a range of structures including your house, garage, greenhouse or shed. Anything that has a gutter and down pipe. Simply purchase a water butt from a local garden centre or DIY shop and start taking advantage of the wet weather.

One note is to be wary of using stored rainwater on seeds and seedlings as it can carry diseases. 

Reduce water wastage by watering plants in the morning
Reduce water wastage by watering plants in the morning

Water plants in the morning

One really simple way to reduce your garden water consumption is to chose to water your plants and lawn in the morning.

This is the most efficient time to water your garden as the cool temperatures mean that water will run down into the soil and reach the roots before evaporating. 

This also has the added benefit of meaning water is available for your plants for when they feel the heat from the sun.

If you can’t water your plants in the morning, evenings are the second-best choice. Just make sure to avoid the mid-day heat. 

Keep on top of garden weeds
Weeds are a drain on your soil’s water content

Keep on top of weeding

Weeds are more than just an unsightly nuisance, they’re also zapping water from your garden. Just like any other plant, weeds require water to grow.

By removing weeds regularly, you stop them from taking away water and precious nutrients from your other plants.

The more often you weed, the less you’ll need to water your other plants.

“Water waste is a huge issue in the UK, one which is only going to grow as we see the effects of global warming. While many people think this is an issue that only affects other parts of the world, experts predict that some parts of the UK could run out of water within 20 years.

Our gardens can be a huge drain of water resources, especially during the hotter months. However, with a little education, there are plenty of ways to reduce your water consumption. And in turn, this will also reduce your water bill, so it’s a win-win situation.

Protecting the planet is everyone’s responsibility and looking at the ways we can reduce waste in our own homes is a great place to start.”

Scott Hawthorne, Managing Director at SkipsAndBins.com

For more content like this visit our Gardening channel.

Last modified: May 19, 2021

Written by 2:37 pm Gardening

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