Hosepipe ban UK: Five ‘safe and beneficial’ ways to keep your grass green without a hose

Southern Water chief grilled by Webb as hosepipe ban introduced

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With the summer seeing soaring 40C highs and an exceptional lack of rainfall, droughts have been confirmed in eight areas of the UK so far while reservoirs bear the impact. This has led to several water providers issuing warnings to use water sparingly across their respective catchment areas, including the implementation of hosepipe bans in four areas so far. This number is only expected to grow.

Areas under Southern Water and South East Water in Kent, Essex, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight have seen a ban in place since August 12.

This number is due to expand to cover 10 more areas in the coming days and weeks.

Welsh Water will be implementing a hosepipe ban across Pembrokeshire from Friday, August 19, while South West Water will be issuing one across Cornwall and a small part of Devon from August 23.

Yorkshire Water customers will be impacted by a ban from August 26 and Thames Water customers will see one from August 24, with locations under ban stretching from London, across to Swindon, Oxford, Reading and more.

On the rain shortfall, Southern Water said: “For the past eight months we’ve had very little rain – way below average. In fact, we’re experiencing one of the driest years on record (for the past 131 years).”

As hot weather conditions persist, combined with not nearly enough rainfall, gardens may take a hit with hosepipe bans in place.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to beat the drought and keep your grass in good condition without a hosepipe.

Here are five ways to water your garden without a hosepipe.

Water butts

Water butts are a great way to catch and store rainwater, but the butt should ideally be stored in a shady part of the garden to avoid water evaporation.

Nextdoor app member Luke Newcombe tips said: “Water butts can be connected together to increase the volume of water that can be stored at any one time.

“Most people tend to install water butts next to downpipes, which is a great way of harvesting rainwater. I like to be inventive with water harvesting and have installed angled gutting to collect rainwater on fences, sheds and other types of garden structures.”

The morning dew

For anyone with a grass lawn, you could collect the morning dew by using an absorbent cloth or material to soak up the dew to ring out in a bucket.

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Mr Newcombe said: “It is advisable to leave the cloth on a patch of lawn overnight to ensure it collects as much water as possible. It is a tedious process, but will provide a source of water.”

Absorbing materials

This one might sound odd, but nappies can also be a good source of plant water.

Mr Newcombe said: “Nappies, believe it or not, contain a water absorbent gel or crystals that can be used to absorb water in planters, hanging baskets and pots then slowly release it back into the soil. It is comparable to gardening material called perlite.”

Simply rip open the nappy and add the contents into a mixing bowl. Keep adding water until it forms a thick gel, then mix it in equal parts potting soil.

Add this to your plant pots, and you should be good to go.

Use greywater

Greywater refers to the used water from sinks, showers, tubs, and washing machines.

Greywater may contain traces of dirt, food, grease, hair, and certain household cleaning products, according to Greywater Action.

The experts said: “While greywater may look ‘dirty’, it is a safe and even beneficial source of irrigation water in a yard.”

According to Greywater Action, the easiest way to use greywater is to pipe it directly outside. However, it’s important to use plant-friendly household products in the home without high levels of salt, boron, or chlorine bleach when you do this, as these could cause damage.

Add mulch to the ground

Adding soaked mulch to the ground offers a range of benefits, from not only stalling weed growth and protecting the soil but also preventing water evaporation.

To do this, Lawncare Lessons recommended: “Use a layer of newspaper about six pieces thick and on top of the newspaper, place a layer of grass clippings, straw, dried leaves, peat moss, or old hay.”

This will conserve the water in the soil and reduce the number of times it will need to be watered.

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