Water use in gardens

Get smart about using water in your garden

Top tips from RHS Water Scientist Janet Manning
1) Install a water butt – these are extremely useful for harvesting rainwater. When rain is forecast, install water butts or clean out your existing ones ready to collect it. If you don’t have one, you can still use watering cans and old bins to collect rainwater.  

2) Switch to watering in the morning – domestic water use tends to peak in the early evening, so start watering early in the morning to ease the demand later in the day. This will also help provide the water that plants will draw on through the day, and will avoid it just draining away at night.

3) Don’t water your lawn – lawns are tough and you may be surprised at how quickly they bounce back after rainfall.

4) Swap hoses for a watering can – an hour’s use is equivalent to the average supply for a family of four for two days under normal circumstances. Using a can slows the flow when watering containers, meaning more water stays in the pot rather than running out the bottom. 

5) Train your plants to drink more slowly by giving them less – using less water will actually encourage the plants to drink less. In essence, if you keep the glass half full, your plants will adapt and learn to drink more slowly.


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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.