The Chelsea flower show has certainly given us garden envy this week and we hope it has inspired you to think about getting out and about in the garden too. With an extra-long weekend in store for many of us, thanks to the Bank Holiday, it’s the perfect time to start thinking about getting your garden ready for summer.
According to the RHS, less than 3 percent of an average household’s water consumption is in the garden, however at times of peak demand during the summer, this can rise to as much as 70 percent. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to be water wise and brush up on ways to save water in the garden. Luckily there are lots of simple things we can all do to be water savvy, without compromising a blooming lovely garden.
Our water-saving expert Ana-Maria Millan guides us through some of her favourite ways to save.
Planning your garden
Opt for drought resistant plants and flowers – such as lavender, geraniums or tulips – and herbs like rosemary and sage. There are lots of great options for a bright and beautiful display without the need to splash out and use lots of water.
Make sure you always get to the root of the problem. Did you know, regular weeding will help to ensure your plants make the most of the moisture in the soil, meaning less frequent need to water your garden.
When planting, don’t forget to add a layer of mulch, to borders to help stop water evaporating.
Don’t panic if your lawn looks a little brown – grass is surprisingly resilient. Most lawns can survive for up to 6 weeks without water and will recover well when it next rains.
Do you have a vegetable patch in your garden? When it’s time to pick veg, why not bring a bucket and colander into the garden and rinse your vegetables right there and then. Collect the water and use it to give the rest of your garden a drink.
You can save even more water in the garden by recycling domestic wastewater – often referred to as greywater. This could come from the kitchen sink, washing machine, bath, basins or showers. Household soaps and detergents are unlikely to harm non-edible plants. Using water containing bleach, disinfectants and dishwasher salt should be avoided, as these chemicals can harm plants and damage the soil.
Installing a water butt in your garden is another great way to save water and money, especially if you’re on a meter. Even in the driest parts of the country, enough rainwater could be collected from the average roof to fill around 150 water butts a year, making it a cost effective and environmentally friendly way to ensure your plants have enough water, whatever the weather. Try to wash the water butt once a year to keep it fresh.
Even if you don’t have a garden or a lot of outdoor space you can still have a bright display without using lots of water. If you have any hanging baskets, don’t forget to use water retaining granules to maintain moisture. These can be added to the compost at the time of potting.
Whether in the home or out in the garden, we have lots of great tips to help you save water and money.