What you’ll need
Step 1. Make your water last
Whatever rain we do get, make sure you take advantage with a water butt. We have a wide range of water butts available, including slimline versions that include everything you need, take up little room and hold up to 100 litres. Consider a water butt pump, which allows you to use your hose with the water butt.
Water retaining gel
Make what water is available last longer by mixing water retaining gel into your compost. This saves and stores up to 90% of the water you normally use, and slowly releases it to the roots of your plants over time.
When you do water your plants, make sure you do it either early in the morning or during the evening – the cooler temperatures at this time will give the water time to soak into the soil. If you water during the day, the water will evaporate quicker, and you risk scorching the leaves of your plants.
Step 2. Choose the right sort of plants
Plants with silver or grey-green leaves are especially tolerant of dry periods. Try growing a variety of Mediterranean plants or water tolerant shrubs such as lavender, rosemary and verbena – they will bring colour and vibrancy to your garden and will require less watering once they are established.
If you’re worried about your lawn suffering during dry periods, try raking it to remove all the dead and unwanted grass thatch, and use a fork to aerate the soil – doing this will help whatever water is available get down into the soil and to the roots of your grass. It’s also a good idea to mow your lawn less during times of hot weather.
Step 3. Use compost and mulch
Adding compost to your soil will help your plants survive a tough summer as it’s a great water retainer. The more compost you plant into your soil the more water you will retain – not only that, but you’ll also improve the quality of the soil year after year.
Another way to keep your soil moist is to use mulch. Adding this to the surface will help prevent evaporation from the soil and increase moisture retention.
Weeds and self-seeding plants will steal water from the roots of your plants, so it’s a good idea to use weed control fabric to prevent them from establishing. You can cover the fabric using chippings made from bark or decorative stone.