Net Zero Hub

Net Zero Hub


Give your garden some summer love without wasting water

Top TV gardener Daisy Payne has teamed up with South West Water to share advice on how to keep your garden in great shape this summer, while also being water savvy.

Following the driest July for England since 1935, with just 35% of its average rainfall, conserving water is at the forefront of people’s minds all over the UK.

With hosepipes using around 1,000 litres of water per hour, the garden is the perfect place to cut down usage, helping save water and reduce bills.

With the continued unprecedented and prolonged period of hot and dry weather predicted to continue throughout the UK, South West Water is urging its customers to avoid any non-essential water use, including the use of a hosepipe for gardening, and washing cars and windows. Here’s what Daisy recommends:

  • Think about your planting scheme and introduce more drought tolerant plants such as lavender, hebe, salvia, Russian olive/olive trees, chaste tree, euphorbia, cosmos, verbena, Californian poppy, globe thistle and sedum.
  • Water your plants in the morning or evening, while it is still cool. Watering during the day means the heat can cause the water to evaporate before your plants can absorb it. So get up early or get out and enjoy your garden in the evening, once it’s cooled off a little.
  • Reuse water from the home. If you haven’t got a water butt full of rain water, try saving washing up water (as long as it doesn’t contain bleach) or bathwater by putting it into buckets and then using to water your garden.
  • Soak up excess water. When you’re watering your pots, put an absorbent mat or saucer under them, so they catch the water as it flows through, and therefore really maximises the water it’s getting. The roots will soak up the water left at the bottom!
  • Protect plants from the sun. Organic matter, including mulch, compost, farmyard manure and bark, improves water infiltration and water holding capacity, giving plant roots and soil organisms better living conditions. To protect your plants during dry weather, place a layer of organic matter on top of the soil to keep your garden moist. This is a pretty quick job and will really help.
  • Don’t worry about your lawn. It will bounce back I promise! If it needs mowing, set your lawnmower to cut higher and leave clippings where they fall to act as mulch.
  • Really focus on the base of the plant when you’re watering with your watering can. The best way to water plants is to target their roots, as they will take moisture from the surrounding soil or compost.
  • Put away your hosepipe. Use your watering can instead of a hosepipe, and you could consider creating a watering schedule so you’re being really efficient with your water too.
  • Get your butt in gear. First things first, get yourself a water butt. They’re not very expensive and they mean you are maximising what nature gives us when it does rain. It will collect up the water so you can reuse it to water your plants. It really is that simple. It’ll be saving you money in the long run!

Lisa Gahan, the Director Responsible for Water Resources at South West Water, said: “When it comes to water use, the garden tends to be the outlet for a considerable amount of water, with hosepipes using around 1,000 litres an hour when in use.

“The current high levels of demand and unprecedented weather conditions mean our reservoirs are lower than usual for this time of year, so we are thrilled to be sharing Daisy’s tips on how to reduce water usage in the garden.

“We also know that climate change is likely to bring more prolonged hot and dry weather conditions, like we are seeing now, so it’s great to remind people that our gardens can still be thriving and beautiful when rain is less frequent. 

“We are also working hard to do our bit. Our teams continue to work tirelessly around the clock to manage and increase supplies to customers while reducing water usage at our own sites and across our network. We thank customers right across our region for playing an important role in reducing usage and only using the water they need.”

In the last two years South West Water has doubled the number of leak detection staff and now has 140 leak detectors finding and fixing around 2,000 leaks a month, keeping leakage levels at one of the lowest in the industry.

Around 30% of leaks in the region occur on private supplies, and South West Water is also working closely with customers to detect and help repair leaks on their property.

Find out more online at

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