Top tips for a water efficient and wildlife-friendly garden
The garden is a great a place to spend your time when the sun is out. However, you shouldn’t have to rely on using lots water to maintain it. Using less water can benefit the environment, so be mindful of ways to reduce your water usage. See if you can make a difference by following Wessex Water’s top tips for saving water in the garden:
- Create a ‘drought tolerant’ garden to ensure you save water during dry spells. A common misconception is that to achieve this you need Mediterranean plant species in your garden, but this isn’t the case. There are many familiar plants which are well adapted to cope with hot and dry conditions as well as wetter periods, such as lavender, verbena and sedums to name a few. A side benefit is that these plants also help native wildlife to thrive.
- Avoid cutting your lawn too short and allow your daisies, clovers and dandelions to flower and provide for pollinators. A longer lawn will not go brown as easily during hot and dry spells, meaning you won’t be as tempted to water it. Additionally, consider leaving some areas of grass to grow even longer to support the wildlife in your garden – the insects will thank you for it!
- If your plants need to be watered, do so in the early morning or evening when it’s cooler so that less water is lost through evaporation. Also, make sure that you water them thoroughly to prevent your plants from forming shallow roots because deeper-rooted plants are more resilient to periods of dry weather. Once watered, don’t forget to apply a layer of mulch over the soil surface which will help to retain moisture where it’s needed.
- Install a water butt in your garden – it’s a great way to save money and water. Ideally, you can then use the rainwater it collects to fill a watering can (most plants prefer rainwater). But before you decide to water your plants, check the weather forecast because it isn’t necessary if rain is on its way.
- Reuse water as much as you can. Cooled water from cooking vegetables can be used to water patio pots as can water from washing up bowls (as long as it’s not too soapy). If you have a bird bath, collect water when you’re running taps and use it to top them up. Go a step further and trim back vegetation from around your bird bath to allow visitors to use it without the fear of predators creeping up on them.
Once you have given some of these tips a try, sit back and relax in your garden and start planning for next year - why don’t you think about projects you could tackle which would bring more wildlife to your garden? Perhaps you could create a boggy area, pond or rainwater garden that takes water from downpipes. Water features like these can help support a wider variety of insects and may also attract frogs which could help keep gardening pests like slugs at bay.
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