Most of your plants need regular watering to survive, and the hotter it gets the more water they need. Watering big gardens and allotments can become a chore that takes time away from your other garden maintenance. Irrigation has been used to water large areas since the ancient Egyptians dug channels through their fields to divert river water. Luckily, you have a few more options available to you beyond diverting rivers.
Irrigation works by supplying controlled amounts of water to your plants at set times, and there are a lot of ways you can do this. The method that is right for you will depend on how much sun your garden gets and if your plants have similar or different watering requirements
Easy to install and simple to maintain, the sprinkler system replicates rainfall by supplying water from above the plant. This is an easy way to water a large garden and if you get a simple lawn sprinkler can be one of the cheapest. There are advantages and disadvantages to a sprinkler system, and its usefulness will depend on your need:
|Covers a large area||Can cause overwatering|
|Can be automated||Prone to disruption from wind|
|Can be used anywhere||Some systems can be expensive to install|
|Low maintenance||Not the best system if you have different watering requirements|
These hoses are made of porous materials and release small amounts of water directly into the soil. More often used in vegetable patches and under hedges, this method of above-ground irrigation might be the best option for you if you want to conserve water.
|Conserves water||Requires regular maintenance|
|Conserves soil||Time-consuming initial installation|
|Can be automated||Low output|
|Waters soil directly||Limited coverage|
Drip Line Irrigation
Drip line irrigation is similar to a soaker hose but allows you more control over how much certain parts of your garden get watered. These systems can be placed at ground level or put over your plants if a more advanced line and nozzle system are used making it a good irrigation system for hanging baskets.
|Conserves water||Time-consuming set up|
|Adjustable output||Can be prone to clogging|
|Long lifespan||Slower than other systems|
|Can be automated||More advanced systems can have a big setup cost|
These specialized containers are a great solution to keeping your plants watered if you are away for a short trip. These pots have an upper pot that holds the soil and plant, while a lower reservoir holds the water and feeds it to the soil. Usually, these pots hold enough water for a few days, depending on the weather and evaporation rate – all you need to do is refill the reservoir.
Trees and shrubs need slow, deep watering to become established. Tree watering bags are put around the base of the tree and filled with water where they will slowly release it into the soil surrounding the rootball. They are an inexpensive and water-saving way of establishing
Automate your system
If you are going on holiday, are away a lot or want to spend time on other gardening jobs then automating your watering is one of the best things you can do. Setting up a basic automated system is simple and can be done in a few steps, all you need is a timer that attaches to your outdoor tap – this can be mains or solar-powered.
- Make sure your hose pipes and sprinklers are set up so you have total coverage of your garden
- Attach your timer or regulator to your water source and set the times
- Connect everything together with
- Do a test run
Once you have the right irrigation set up you will find yourself with much more time to enjoy your garden and get the rest of your jobs done, making this a must-do job for the serious gardener.