In a hot summer, watering can take up a lot of time every day – particularly if you plant in containers. Whatever you like to grow, it makes sense to find ways to reduce your watering.
Top tips to make watering easier
Some watering cans can be awkward to carry, so choose a design you can manage easily. A lightweight plastic watering can with flat sides should be easier to carry and tip than a round can.
- You can cut the need to water your garden by mulching the soil, which keeps moisture in. You can also help keep pots and containers moist by adding water-retaining gel or granules to the compost and by standing pots on a layer of moist gravel.
- Choose plants that like drier conditions – particularly for dry parts of the garden, or if you have free-draining soil. Find out more about easy-care plants in Thrive's plant guide
Water in the evening, when there is less evaporation. You can save time and effort by putting water butts and standpipes at convenient places around the garden.
- Concentrate on the plants that really need water – seedlings, new plants, and containers – try not to waste water on your lawn. Water vegetables when they need it most – when tubers are forming, when hearts are forming on leafy plants, and when peas and beans are flowering.
- Group containers together as they will need regular watering. Clay pots lose water more quickly than plastic ones. In the summer, place saucers under your containers but remove them in the winter and in prolonged wet weather.
Watering using a can or a heavy hose can cause a strain on the arms, hands, back and legs. For watering small plants or areas, for example seedlings or containers, use a small, lightweight watering can to keep the weight that you are lifting to a minimum.
- Reaching to get water to out-of-reach plants can cause extra strain, so don’t over stretch.
- Wet paths can cause glare and slips, so take care when watering or if it’s been raining.
Equipment and tools
If you prefer to use a hose, a hose reel should be easier to manage than a standard hose. There are also lightweight expanding, or 'curly’, hoses which are easier and lighter to pull into position, and they spring back into place.
- A can with a valve control releases the water on demand and needs less tipping, saving arm strain.
- To save straining when you water with a hose, choose a spray that you can operate easily and try a special attachment such as a lance spray, fan spray, trigger grip or squeeze grip spray. They can help you get water to hanging baskets or other out-of-reach plants.
- There is a whole range of automated watering options, including drip watering systems that can be set up and linked to hanging baskets, growbags, or greenhouse plants. While these systems can be costly and fiddly to set up, they can save time in the long run - and can even save water.
- You could lay seep hoses in your beds and borders. They help deliver the water to the plants more slowly.
- With automatic systems, you can programme the timer and plan your watering in advance.
- Capillary matting takes water to the base of pots and seed trays and are useful in the greenhouse and conservatory.