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 reduce your watering and to choose watering systems that are easier to manage.
Top tips to make watering easier
Some watering cans can be awkward to carry, so choose a design you can manage easily. A lightweight watering can with flat sides should be easier to carry and tip than a round can.
You can cut the need to water by mulching the soil, which keeps moisture in. You can also keep pots and containers moist by adding water-retaining gel or granules to the compost and by standing pots on a layer of moist compost.
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 stand pipes at convenient places around the garden. Make sure that taps and lids are easy for you to use.
Concentrate on the plants that really need water - seedlings, newly planted trees and plants, and containers. 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 or in prolonged wet weather.
A heavy watering can will tire your hands and be awkward to carry. Use a small, lightweight watering can or a large cup to water seedlings or containers.
A heavy hose might be hard to manage with a weak grip. A lightweight curly hose will be easier to carry and to use. Store the hose at a height where you can reach it easily.
Reaching to water 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
A lightweight plastic watering can with flat sides should be easier to carry and tip than a round can.
A can with a valve control releases water on demand and needs less tipping, saving arm strain. Make sure that you can operate the push button easily.
An expanding, or curly hose is easier and lighter to pull into position and springs back into place.
Lance spay, fan spray, trigger grip or squeeze grip spray attachments can
help you get water to hanging baskets or other out-of-reach plants. Try out any spray controls to make sure that you can operate them easily.
There is a whole range of automated watering options, including drip watering systems that can be set up to link to hanging baskets, growbags, or greenhouse plants. While these systems can be costly and fiddly to set up, they can save time – and can even save water.
You could lay seep hoses in your beds and borders. They deliver water to the plants more slowly.
Capillary matting takes water to the base of plants and seed trays and is useful in the greenhouse and conservatory.