Water is essential for keeping your garden looking healthy, blooming and full of life – and this is especially true during the hot summer months.
But the use of water while maintaining your garden can come at a big cost. At peak demand, up to 70 per cent of our water supply can be used in the garden, mostly from watering plants or the lawn, which means you’ll often see a spike in your water bill during summer.
Here, Tim Robertson, CEO of Save Water Save Money, has revealed his top tips on how to save water – and money – in your outdoor space.
1. Analyse your household usage
It’s important to start any money-saving plan by looking at your household bills. This will be useful in showing you how you can cut down on wastage and make your water use more efficient.
Firstly, work out how much water your household is using at the moment. Then you can use a free digital tool, such as the aqKWa Savings Engine, to help you figure out where to reduce wastage. This tool will analyse your water usage in the garden and around the home and then offer personalised advice in just a few minutes. Over 200,000 households have used the engine, saving on average £88 a year.
Getty ImagesJGI/Jamie Grill
2. Use recycled rainwater on plants
Data from 40,950 households revealed that 57 per cent of people who water their garden do so every day or every other day during the summer. But rather than using fresh water from the tap to water your plants, you should opt for using recycled rainwater.
By installing a water butt in your garden you can collect rainwater, which can then be used to water your garden when times are dry. This will not only save you from wasting fresh water but also save you money.
‘If every household in England collected just one water butt’s worth of water a year (160 litres), it would collectively save four billion litres of fresh water every year,’ Tim said.
3. Avoid hosepipes or sprinklers
This may not come as a surprise but the worst culprits for wasting water are hosepipes and sprinklers, which can use up to 1,000 litres of water an hour – more than a family of four use in an entire day.
If you feel you can’t live without your sprinkler, then it’s best to turn it on during cooler periods, such as early morning and evening. This will reduce evaporation and wastage.
If you’ve got plans to wash your car, then choose to use a bucket and sponge instead of of your hosepipe. Water and money will definitely be saved.
Getty ImagesGeorge Clerk
4. Water at the right time
Sometimes we are guilty of over-watering our gardens as we mistakenly think our plants are in desperate need of a drink. To check whether your garden actually needs more water, look at the soil about a spade-deep down – if it’s damp, it’s fine, and if it’s dry, it’s time to water.
‘However, it’s important to remember that clay soil might feel damp whether it’s irrigated or not, and sandy soil can feel dry, even if it has water in it,’ Tim said. ‘So check for signs of water stress on your plants, such as when leaves change position or get darker.’
Getty ImagesRick Harrison
5. Don’t be afraid of a brown lawn
A brown lawn may not be the prettiest sight to behold but it’s actually the natural survival mechanism of grass. It’s important to note that lawns can survive for up to four to six weeks without water. So during short heatwaves or dry spells you can save water by waiting until it next rains. Your grass will soon spring back to life in green health.
6. Plant flowers that need less water
One great way to reduce water usage in the garden is to plant low-water plants, such as lavender, palms, mimosa and verbena. They need less water to grow and thrive so can help you save some pennies.