water butt

Saving water in the garden is a good idea, because most people now have water meters, and also councils often impose hosepipe bans, when reservoirs run dry. Although we have a lot of rain, often this is wasted and just goes down drains, when it’s a very good idea to save it!

This watering can to collect rain collects drops from downpours, to save you turning on the tap and increasing your water bills. Made from recycled plastic, it features an easy-fill design and even a frog ladder, to allow little creatures to escape! In a 7 litre capacity (green or purple).

Harcostar water butts are best-selling premium butts to divert rainwater to your garden. This butt saves 350 litres of rainwater and includes a spring-operated child-safe lid and hose connector tap, that sits 340mm above ground level. The butt channels rainwater that falls on your roof, using the Universal Rain Trap (which fits most standard plastic downpipes – not suitable for cast iron downpipes – all water butts should be placed on a flat even surface, not on soil or grass).

Avoid open water barrels near children/pets (drowning hazards & stagnant water can attract mosquitoes). Learn how to make gardens safe for pets (avoid facing indoor foliage to gardens, to help stop birds flying into windows).

water butt

For small spaces, slimline water butts can be linked together if needed, with add-on kits for stands and built-in taps. For large gardens and industrial use, go for a water tank that can take 700 to 1200 rainwater. This pays for itself in no time by reducing water bills (and you’ll never run out, as we always have lots of rain!)

water butt

what about greywater recycling?

This method is often use for large-scale projects. You likely won’t use it for domestic gardens, but it may be worth considering for large offices, hotels and other big places. Centre for Alternative Technology has good info – you have to know what you’re doing as greywater (from sinks, baths and washing machines) requires treatment and you need to use unscented biodegradable soaps and laundry powder etc. Not doing things correctly could also cause algal blooms in ponds and rivers. 

Fun fact: The former chief executive of Centre for Alternative Technology Adrian Ramsay is now co-leader of the Green Party, and has just been elected as one of England’s four new Green MPs! He managed to win a new constituency made up of 5 old safe Conservative seats. To show the difference from mainstream parties, his first plan is to oppose the National Grid’s plans for a 100-mile corridor of 50-metre high wind farm pylons in East Anglia, designed to carry energy from offshore wind farms. This may sound good in theory but there are huge issues – and with Adrian’s massive knowledge about wind energy, he’s just the man to argue the case for green energy, that keeps local people happy!

a book  to create a water-saving garden

the water smart garden

The Water-Smart Garden is a timely book for anyone who faces the dreaded hosepipe pan or water restrictions from their local council, who is on a water meter (and wants to save on bills) or simply wishes to help the planet by using less freshwater in the garden. This book can show you how!

As freshwater shortages increase due to rising temperatures and frequent droughts, it’s important to conserve water as much as possible. You can choose plants that require less water, but there are also dozens of other things you can do. The book covers water-efficient methods like mulch (avoid cocoa, pine and rubber mulch near pets – toxic, can puncture and choke accordingly). Also keep fresh compost away from pets, as it contains mould. 

The book includes information on:

  • Harvesting & redistributing rainwater in cisterns & rain barrels
  • Employing drip irrigation, to target water to plant roots
  • Replacing unused lawns with drought-resilient plants
  • Planting containers that require less frequent watering
  • Building swales and berms to redirect water to where needed

This book makes it easy to help the precious resource of water, yet still have a resilient, attractive and low-maintenance landscape. Noelle Johnson is a horticulturalist, landscape consultant and garden writer who lives in Arizona (a dry area of the USA). Her passion for the last 20 years has been to create, grow and maintain beautiful gardens that thrive in hot dry climates. She also speaks to garden groups on desert gardening.

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