How Can I Conserve Water?
Plants grow better with rainwater - it’s softer, contains fewer chemicals and has a pH level that most plants prefer. If you’ve got a water meter, it will also save you money! There are lots of ways that you can collect rainwater for your garden, and you can even re-use bathwater for plants. Here we explore some ways of collecting water.
The most efficient way of collecting rainwater is to install a water butt. These can be fitted wherever you have a gutter or downpipe. Water is diverted from the gutter or downpipe to the water butt and stored until you need it, and most butts have a tap which you can use to fill your watering can.
Water butts can be bought online or at garden centres, and you can now get slimline ones for smaller spaces. Your local council may even supply them at cost.
You can also make your own with an old waste bin or barrel - but cover the top with netting to keep out insects, and when children or pets are around, put a lid on it.
Buckets and Watering Cans
You can simply leave out buckets, watering cans and any other containers you have, to fill up when it rains. Every little helps! Make sure you use it as soon as possible to avoid contamination.
Waste water from baths, washing up and other household uses or ‘grey water’ can be used to water the garden. Any soap or detergent it contains will not harm the plants, but avoid water containing disinfectant, bleach or dishwasher salt. Use straight away.
Straight to the Roots
Cut the bottom off a large plastic bottle and bury it upside down next to plants to create a funnel - it will help rainwater get straight to the roots.
Choose Drought-tolerant Plants
Drought tolerant plants are those which need less frequent water and can survive a dry spell and so won't need frequent watering. This saves water and effort, so everyone wins! Drought tolerant plants include Sedum, Echinacea, Achillea, Euphorbia and perennial herbs such as Rosemary - they will require some watering when first planted but once established they will be fine without.
Planting for Water Conservation
With careful planting, you can save even more water. Position your most drought tolerant plants on the highest ground, then the more demanding plants below them. When it rains, water will naturally run off from the plants that don't need it, downhill towards those that do - a naturally efficient system that will save you water, time and effort while giving all your plants the ideal growing conditions.
Collected rainwater should only be used for gardens, not for drinking.
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