Help & advice: Buying guide to watering equipment
Buying guide to watering equipment
Water is your essential ingredient for a lush and luxuriant garden - and here's the best gear to deliver it just where it's needed.
Keep your lawn and plants fresh with Homebase's range of watering equipment.
Here's our list of watering equipment to keep your garden fresh and fertile:
Plastic watering cans are light and hard-wearing. But you might prefer a galvanised metal watering can for its traditional good looks - and the fact that it'll last for years.
Whatever you choose, it's obviously got to be comfortable for you to carry. And if your tap is a distance from those thirsty plants, buy the biggest one you can handle to save you trips. Make sure the top handle is comfortable, even with gloves on.
Change the watering can rose - the perforated head of the spout - depending on the job. For routine watering attach a coarse rose, but use a fine one if you're watering seedlings or young, delicate plants.
Planning on hanging baskets? You'll need to water them twice a day, and perhaps more, in hot weather. So make life easier and choose a special watering can with a long spout. A side handle and smaller water capacity make it easy to lift up high. And with a fine rose your watering can will deliver water straight to the centre of the basket.
Choosing a hosepipe depends on the size of your garden and your budget. But you'll obviously want to think about quality too. For instance, the walls of a hosepipe can vary in thickness and therefore strength. So if you need a garden hose that will take plenty of wear and tear, go for one with reinforced extra-thick walls. It's less likely to kink and won't crush or crack if you accidentally stand on it.
Instead of the traditional straight hosepipe, why not try a spiral hose? It extends to where it's needed and when released retracts automatically into coils. A spiral hose is great for smaller gardens and if you're tight for space.
Obvious perhaps but you'll need to check your hose is long enough to reach all around the garden - with a bit to spare. Lengths vary from 15m to 50m. If you've got a large garden, you can always join two hoses together with a hose connector.
Garden hose reels and hose carts
You can use a freestanding garden hose reel so it's easy to move around the garden. Many freestanding reels - called hose carts - come with wheels and a push handle so they're even simpler to shift about. If you like things nice and tidy, you could have a wall-mounted hose reel next to your tap.
Complete hosepipe kits
Hosepipe kits come with lots of gear. You get the hose, reel, hose end adapters for connecting to the outside tap at one end and nozzles at the other, and a choice of nozzles. Look out for great-value starter sets.
If you don't fancy hours of tedious hand watering, you'll love an automatic system. They deliver the water to exactly where it's needed and wastage is minimised - good news if you're on a water meter.
The water is carried from the tap through narrow black tubes that blend in nicely when they're looped through beds and pots. Additional water nozzles supplied with your system are connected to these tubes at intervals with special joints. You simply position the nozzles where the water is needed - at plant roots or in tubs and pots.
Different nozzles do a variety of jobs. Adjustable drippers drip water at root level. Micro jets send a fine spray through foliage. Mini sprinklers are a smaller version of lawn sprinklers. Misters are for using in greenhouses and under cloches.
Use a micro hose for thirsty plants or dry areas. It's a tube with lots of tiny holes, and water seeps through them into surrounding soil. Loop through plants or bury just under the surface of the soil.
Automatic timer switches
A timer switch is brilliant if you're off on holiday, are often away from home, or simply don't want to think about watering your garden every morning and night!
Just attach the timer to your tap and set it to turn on the water in the morning or evening. Most timers can be set to turn water on up to three times a day for a maximum of two hours each time.
Timers are easy and inexpensive to install, and powered by a battery that only needs changing once each season.
Different garden hose attachments make watering your plants easier:
Nozzles come in a variety of hand-held jets or guns. Some are adjustable so you can alternate from a direct stream of water to a spray of fine mist.
A water stop is a handy gadget. This device, fitted to the nozzle end, stops the water supply so you can change attachments without having to go back and turn off the tap.
Sprinklers are for watering your lawn. Take a look at these:
These sprinklers have an arched spray bar that oscillates from side to side and delivers jets of water across the lawn. You can adjust it to oscillate on one side or the other only, or to stay in one position. You can also change the watering pattern from a coarse jet to a fine spray.
These sprinklers' spray jets rotate from a round spray plate, throwing out water in a circle. Some models are mounted on a spike stuck into the ground, others are positioned flat on the ground.
Choose a water butt with a sturdy child-proof lid that won't blow off, a filter to remove debris, and a tap so you can fill a watering can easily. Put the butt on a matching stand - it makes filling your can more comfortable as you don't need to bend down.
Keep your water butt topped up by fitting a rainwater diverter to a downpipe leading from the roof - it'll channel the water straight into the butt.
When planting hanging baskets, tubs and pots for the summer it's a good idea to add water gel to the compost mix. The highly absorbent gel granules hold on to water released into the compost as it starts to dry, keeping it moist for longer.