The South West London Gardener

How to Conserve Water When Gardening

The one thing used more than any other in keeping a garden healthy is water.

Let’s look into some rough figures.

If you think most plants require around 30mm of water a week to stay healthy, if you have 100 plants in your garden, that’s a lot of water.

There’s no wonder that in hot and dry weather, half of your entire household water usage can be spent outside.

While it is impossible to not use water at all, it is very easy to use too much.

Water wastage can cost you gallons of the stuff. But, on the flipside, if you aim to conserve water, you could be doing your bank balance, and the planet, some real favours.

So, how can you conserve water? And what will the effects be?

Well, here at The Southwest London Gardener we’re passionate about helping the environment through natural and sustainable gardening, and this is a key aspect of that.

That’s why we’ve created this guide to answer these questions.

Let’s take a look.

man using hose pipe

The Benefits of Saving Water

Saving water in your garden has many benefits, including:

  • Conservation – Water is a finite resource, so the more you can save, the better for the planet and for your local supplier. Especially in hot and dry times, using as little water as possible can help maintain levels.
  • Lower Bills – If you have a water metre, then using too much water means that you will be paying more than you need to. Especially if the overused water is not providing any benefit, then you are essentially paying for nothing.
  • Healthier Garden – Excessive watering can lead to many problems in your garden. From your plants to your soil, if you put too much water down, the environment for growth will be harmed and you won’t see the best results.

These are just a handful of the ways conserving water can benefit you, and if you want to start minimising your usage, here are seven ways you can do it.

wet flower

7 Tips for Preserving Water

Mulch for Moisture Retention

Mulch is a wonderful material when it comes to many aspects of gardening, including conserving water.

This is made up of organic materials such as wood chips and straw for example, and what it does is help to regulate the temperature of the soil underneath it.

When it comes to maintaining moisture, keeping the soil cool is a big help, and therefore mulch can be great at reducing the need for repetitive watering.

Your plants will stay hydrated (among many other benefits of using mulch) for much longer, and the growing environment should stay just right.

Pick and Place Your Plants

A key aspect of being water-wise in your garden is picking the right plants.

What you’re looking for are plants that are suited to the climate and soil conditions they are about to be planted into.

Native or drought-resistant plants will require much less water to stay healthy, and this should help keep your usage down a great deal.

Whilst on the topic of plants, try and group ones with similar watering needs together.

This way, you will minimise the risk of overwatering plants that don’t require as much as some of the other species in your garden, and always give each section the right amount.

Time Your Watering Well

When you water your garden can have a big effect on how much water is needed.

The trick here is to avoid the hotter times of the day, such as when the sun is at its highest point.

Early morning and late afternoon are ideal, as this gives the water a chance to really soak into your soil and less chance of evaporation removing some of it before it gets a chance to really do its work.

By simply changing the times you water, you could see a huge difference in the health of your plants and the amount of water you use.

Keep Everything Tidy

The key reason water is used in a garden is to provide plants with the energy and nutrients that they need.

With this in mind, making sure your plants are never wasting energy can help minimise the amount of water they take in.

This is why regular maintenance and pruning is so important.

If you can remove dead, diseased, and overgrown elements of your plants, trees, and more, then you are reducing the amount they are trying to feed, thus redirecting the plant’s energy towards the areas that need it most and boosting growth and water efficiency.

Save Rainwater

Remember at the beginning of this blog when we mentioned how much water is needed to keep a plant healthy (30mm), well what if I told you well over 1000 mm falls from the sky every year?

While some of this will fall in the right place, much of it won’t, and this is a terrible waste of what can be a really valuable source.

Collecting watering and recycling it throughout your garden has many benefits, and a key one is that it reduces the amount of water you use from the mains.

Whether it is a full rainwater harvesting system, or simply a bucket, every drop you collect is one less that you have to source from elsewhere, so why not start now?

Monitor Moisture Levels

How do you know when your plants have enough moisture?

It can be tricky if you don’t know how to do a proper test.

There are some ways to do this. If you want the most accurate results, why not invest in a sensor that will provide real-time data on soil moisture levels, so you can be certain you’re always using an optimal amount of water?

Alternatively, a DIY method of doing this is simply pushing your finger into the soil and feeling how damp the soil feels.

If you pull your finger out and it is dry and clean, there’s a chance your soil needs watering. If it feels moist and easy to push your finger in, you should be all good for another day.

Use a Garden Watering System

A great way of conserving water and ensuring precision and efficiency in your watering process is to install a garden watering system.

This can be incorporated into your garden and will provide regular, scheduled watering to the areas that need it most.

By setting the perfect amount of water to be used, you can be sure that you are never overwatering and wasting water.

To make this even better, why not add a rainwater collection system into your garden watering framework and reduce the need for mains water completely.

dog being sprayed with water

Wise Watering with the Southwest London Gardener

Being water-wise is good for the planet, your bank balance, and your garden.

If you’re looking to conserve water, then The Southwest London Gardener can help. Whether it is designing a garden that can help make conserving water easier or installing a garden watering system, our team can cover all of these for you and more.

Want to know more? Then get in touch with our team today.