Guide written by:
Albert, Manager of a gardening service, Leicester
Hosepipe with gun / nozzle, watering can, drip-by-drip system or automatic sprinklers, it's important to have the right kit for watering your garden, lawn or vegetable plot. Water is a vital resource which needs to be conserved.
- Type of watering
- Water needs
- Type of plant
Watering plants in pots, tubs and planters
Tubbed and potted plants have an increased need for water compared to when planted out. This is due to faster evaporation of water from containers. Here are some general principles for watering potted plants effectively:
- Drip-by-drip irrigation, useful if you've got a significant number of tubs or planters, can also be connected to a larger irrigation circuit including, say, vegetable plots, hedges, and flowerbeds. It consists of a timer attached to the supply tap, a pressure regulator or irrigation control box, a main pipe, T-junctions with separate pressure regulators to supply the smaller pipes, and finally drip feeders for each planter or bed.
The advantage of having a controller is being able to stop and start watering at preset times, which is of course great when you're away! Make sure you follow manufacturers' instructions when putting together your installation.
Note that some tubs and planters have their own water reservoir, contained in a double wall or floor, which reduces the required frequency of watering. You can also get gel beads which retain water and as such help to better space out watering. Try to avoid overwatering as it can bare the roots and cause rotting. It's always helpful to have a clay pellet drainage layer at the bottom of the container.
For small and medium areas, manual watering with a can or hosepipe is the easiest option in terms of effort, provided you have the time to commit to it and someone who can fill in for you when you're not there. Here are the most common methods:
A watering can, that timeless icon of gardening, will work a treat in most situations with its comfortable handle, removable sprinkler head and up to 13-litre capacity. Practical and easy to manoeuvre. Ideal for tubs and smaller beds, it's less well suited to larger planted areas.
A hosepipe equipped with a nozzle or gun extension is another, more labour-saving piece of classic gardening gear. It will let you cover larger areas than you could with a watering can. Hoses can come on a basic or wall-mounted reel, which may be battery-assisted for safe, uniform rolling and unrolling.
Oscillating, rotating or cannon-type sprinklers, installed at the end of a hosepipe, are a relatively affordable method of automatic watering. Worth investing in for watering larger beds and lawns. They can cover a large ground area, especially the cannon models. These can also have automatic winding systems, but only on larger-scale models. Oscillating / rotating sprinklers are still 'manual' in the sense that they have to be moved from one watering site to the next. Make sure you get the timings right to get a full, consistent watering of your beds.
If you don't have much time, you're frequently away, or you just want to rid yourself of what can be a tedious task, automatic watering is the ideal solution. As well as freeing you up, it can also bring significant water savings! The system can be completely autonomous, regulating its supply by means of a rainfall or moisture sensor. It also offers a few more technological gems when combined with peripheral accessories. Here's a quick rundown:
A surface reservoir is the cheapest and easiest solution to put in place. Quick and easy to install, it offers numerous possibilities. The principle is the same as before: a timer controls a pressure regulator or irrigation controller, which feeds water down main and secondary pipes, via T-junctions, to drip heads, sprinklers or rotors which distribute water in a fine mist. This type of watering system is perfect forhedges and beds, but can also be used to supply plants in tubs, pots and planters, via a secondary pipeline. It's not a very effective method for watering lawns, however, which benefits much more from a buried tank system.
A buried reservoir, like the surface type, offers a wide range of options. Setup is a little more complicated because of the necessary earthwork Before you start, making a detailed plan of your system will help avoid errors that might end up making you start over with the digging…
A rain or moisture sensor can be a great addition to your system. It measures the humidity level in the soil or the level of rain and interrupts the preset watering programme when appropriate.
A smart timer, communicating with your smartphone or tablet, is capable of autoregulating the watering programme through regular transmission of data from the nearest weather station. This lets you economize water as efficiently as possible and initiate watering programmes remotely via the network connection.
Rain or moisture sensor
Learn more about gardening...
To find out more about gardening, follow our editors' advice and check out their other guides:
How to water your lawn?
How to choose your watering timer?
How to choose your planters?
When to plant a tree?
How to choose your drip-by-drip irrigation system?
How to arrange and decorate your garden?
When to sown your lawn?
How to choose your watering attachments?
How to choose your tools to work soil?
When to trim your hedges?
How to decorate your balcony?
How to choose your hosepipe and reel?
How to choose your hose nozzle or gun?
How to choose your watering can or sprinkler?
How to trim your hedge?
How to choose your lawn?
How maintain your lawn?
Guide written by:
Albert, Manager of a gardening service, Leicester, 49 guides
For several years I have been running a garden service with a clientele of both individuals and companies. I manage a team of gardeners and ensure the creation and maintenance of green spaces. At the same time, I bring my expertise to my clients in terms of the maintenance and improvement of their gardens. In fact, as a trainee and working in the hospitality industry at the beginning of my career, I focused on landscaping in a local community where I acquired solid technical skills through in-house training and the follow-up of major projects in a rapidly changing town. On a personal level, I am equally oriented towards the art of gardening. With my wife, I created our garden from start to finish and I maintain it carefully, the same goes for the vegetable garden. As for DIYing, it’s not to be outdone. Yes, gardening is also tinkering: pergola, hut, pavement, fence, and so on...There is always something to do in a garden. After working well together, my wife and I are proud of the result and delighted to be able to take full advantage of a friendly and warm environment. So, let us give you advice and help you in your choice of tools, maintenance, or improvement of your garden, nothing could be simpler.