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In the garden


watering can
Usually, only six per cent of the water we use is for outdoors activities like watering gardens and washing cars. But come hot summer days, over 70 per cent of the water we get through is used to water gardens. Much of this water often does our plants little good.

Water is an increasingly scarce resource. So here are our top tips on making the most of your garden, while reducing the water you use.

Planning
Plan your garden for low watering requirements. Create shading and natural wind break
Choose plants that require little water. Mulch and water thoroughly when planting
Choose thick, grey and silver-leafed plants which usually need less water. Large-leafed plants generally need more water
Avoid open south-facing areas - provide some shelter from sun and wind
Provide good ground cover. This reduces weeds and shades roots from the drying sun and wind

During dry spells
Adjust your lawnmower to cut your grass longer - this will shade the roots from the sun
Leave cuttings on the lawn - they will form a mulch that protects and feeds the grass
Avoid competition - keep lawns and beds weed-free, but avoid hoeing during dry weather
Water seedlings and planters around the roots early in the morning or in the cooler evening. Most mature plants will survive a drought
Add mulch around your borders - this will keep your soil cooler and deter weeds
Kids love playing with water - avoid deep or large paddling pools. Re-use play water for plants in the evening

Using rainwater
Invest in a water butt. The average root collects around 300 full water butts of rain per year. Catch it before it goes down the drain
Connect your water butt directly to the down pipe with a special rain converter
Use your rainwater for watering the garden, washing the car, cleaning paths and windows and topping up ponds (fish prefer rainwater)
Fit a water butt direct to sheds and and greenhouses - right where you need them. Remember, rainwater is free and delivered to your roof
Fit more water butts to provide water for longer dry spells. You can use a joining kit to connect two or more together


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