If you love gardening and care about the environment, you’ll want to know as much as you can about making your outdoor space more eco-friendly. Conserving water is a huge part of this. This article will take you through why and how to conserve water in your garden.
Why is it important to conserve water?
Clean, fresh water is a limited resource, so we should be careful with how much of it we use. This is especially relevant with how global populations have gone up over the last decades, increasing the demand for water. In our gardens – especially in the summer months – we can fall into habits that make us waste a lot of water. Learning how to conserve water is important to make your garden as environmentally friendly as possible.
What can you do to conserve water in your garden?
The choices we make have an impact. Little changes in your garden can add up to a big environmental difference. If you want to make some responsible, water-saving changes, here are some of our top tips for saving water in your garden.
1. Use drought-tolerant plants
A great place to start is with the plants themselves. Some plants need far less water than others and can withstand periods of drought. Having more of these plants in your garden will reduce how much water you actually need to keep everything alive and flourishing.
Here are some examples of drought-tolerant plants:
We’ve got a whole article on drought-tolerant plants – click here if you want to read some more about them!
2. Make use of rainwater
Rainwater is a natural resource that we often forget to take advantage of. When it rains, it gives your plants a good drink, but this hydration might only last for a while when the weather is warm. If you can collect rainwater in a water butt – or any other method – you could keep your own supply of ready-to-use water for your garden. This water could also be used for your houseplants to save you a bit more tap water.
3. Cultivate a healthy soil
“Having healthy soil can really reduce how much water you end up using in your garden” – Chris Bonnett, CEO of Gardening Express. If your soil is very sandy or doesn’t have enough organic matter, it could have some trouble retaining water, meaning you have to water it more often. Adding in compost helps to raise the organic matter content and let your soil hold onto more water, helping to conserve water overall.
Another way to get your soil to hold onto water is by mulching. Mulching your plants with organic or inorganic materials prevents the water in the soil from evaporating through the surface.
- Leaf mould
- Wood chips
Putting a good layer of mulch over your plants in the spring can help to hold in the water and suppress the weeds that might come up in the warmer months. Keeping on top of weeds means your water won’t go towards any unwanted guests in your soil.
5. Water in the morning or evening
Watering your plants early in the morning or late in the evening is great for conserving water. The weather is cooler at these times of day, meaning less water evaporates out of the soil. This gives your plants more time to soak up however much water they need before it gets too hot. If you water your plants during the hottest part of the day, you’ll likely have to water them again after a few hours.
6. Understand how frequently to water
Most plants don’t need to be watered every single day. This is a common mistake in beginner gardeners; watering too frequently not only wastes water but is also bad for your plants. It can rot the roots (especially if they’re in containers) and weaken your plant as the roots will remain shallow.
Infrequent but thorough watering helps to create a healthy root system while saving water. Many garden plants will want a good drink roughly once a week, but this may be more frequent on hot summer days.
Doing your bit for the environment includes your garden practices, which can start with how you use your water. Hopefully, these tips will help you with conserving water in your own sustainable garden.