Watering the Garden: Here’s the Easy Way to Do It

Watering the garden
Water the plants in your garden regularly. This promotes healthy, beautiful development.

When Is the Correct Time to Water the Garden?

It is best to water the flowers and plants in your garden in the morning or late morning at the latest. At that time it is still relatively cool. The water can seep in and the plants can absorb it.

If you water in the evenings instead the ground will remain damp for a very long time. The same applies to the plant leaves. This creates the perfect conditions for snails and harmful fungi.

Watering the Garden: Here’s the Correct Way to Water

Watering a plant bed
The morning or late morning are particularly suitable for watering in the garden.

Instead of frequently watering a little bit, you should rather water your plants less frequently but more heavily. This is the only way the water can seep into the deeper soil layers. The plants then form longer roots and can better overcome dry phases in the future. As a guide, use 20 l to 25 l of water for every square metre. If it rains, the amount of water which has fallen also counts towards this. So you have to do less watering.

When watering, take care to ensure you water the plants in the right place. Many flowering plants and vegetables as well react sensitively to water from above. It’s better to water these plants underneath the leaves, directly at the base.

Roses and other plants with dense foliage develop black spot disease or rust, among other things, if the leaves stay wet for too long. It’s also better to water these plants underneath the leaves.

You have to treat young plants and seedlings differently. The earth should always be slightly damp. Only water them with a gentle water stream. Otherwise, they could snap over or be washed away or pushed into the earth by a strong water stream.

You can water young plants and seedlings extremely gently with the Fontus from Bosch, for example. With this low pressure tool you can chose between four different spray patterns. These include a shower mode that distributes the water particularly gently under the plants.

Use Watering Walls and Watering Rims

It is important for newly cultivated plants and hanging ones that the water actually reaches the plants. Ensure this by shaping a watering wall or rim around the plants with soil. The water cannot escape over these thresholds and so it seeps in where it is needed: near the plant

Watering rim on a tree
Shape a watering rim around freshly placed plants. This prevents the water from flowing away from the stem. ©MSG/Martin Staffler

Think about the Watering Shade

Watering from above may be problematic for some plants. If they are directly next to taller plants, the poured water often doesn’t reach them. The taller plants have an umbrella effect over them.

Plants with large leaves have a similar problem. Although in this case, they are the ones keeping the water off themselves. If you water these from above, the water runs away from the plant on the large leaves. The earth around them remains dry.

In both cases you can solve the problem by watering underneath the foliage.

How Much Water Do Plants Need?

Watering plants in a tub
Not all plants tolerate watering from above. It is better water sensitive plants directly at the plant base. ©iStock/Zbynek Pospisil

The amount of liquid individual plants require is very different. Some only need a very small amount of water, others need a lot of it. You can estimate how much they really need from the plant’s leaves: A lot of very thin and soft leaves generally mean the plant has a high water requirement. But if it has a few, thick, small and hard leaves, it probably needs less water.

In addition to this, there is also a rule of thumb in garden watering:

  • When budding or forming fruit, plants need more water than usual.
    Regular watering is essential for fruiting vegetables in particular. In this case keep the soil evenly moist. This will prevent cracks in the fruits and cucumbers won’t taste bitter.
  • Container plants have very little space for their roots. So they need more water than plants in a bed. Add a layer of gravel on the soil as a mulch layer. This prevents evaporation.
    Important: If plants are in clay pots the moisture also evaporates through the pot walls. So you need to water these much more than plants in plastic containers.
  • Lawns need frequent watering. The frequency depends on the soil. If the lawn is growing in loamy soil, you should water it once a week. You should water lawns on sandy soil every four days. It may be necessary to water more often in very dry weather.

What Is Better: Rain Water or Tap Water?

Cold tap water is not ideal for a lot of plants in the summer. They tolerate warm rain water from a tub or cisterns much better. If you are planning a cistern in your garden it should contain a good 700 litres per 100 square metres of garden.

You can distribute the water you collect with a watering can in the garden or, the go for an easier option and use a garden pump. The GardenPump 18 from Bosch, for example, reliably pumps the water out of the rain barrel or cistern so that you can water the garden with a hose as usual. Alternatively, you can combine the Fontus from Bosch mentioned above with the garden pump.

Rainwater contains neither lime nor chlorine and has a neutral pH value. Therefore, many plants tolerate it readily. Rhododendrons in particular benefit from watering with lime-free water. You should only make an exception for oleanders, as these plants love lime. Therefore, you should water them with luke warm tap water.

What Are the Methods for Watering the Garden?

You have various options when it comes to watering your plants in the garden:

  • Watering can
  • Garden hose
  • Drip hose
  • Perl hose
  • Lawn sprinkler

You can do a watering lap with a watering can. It’s suitable for small gardens or watering individual container plants or small beds.

A large can holds enough water for around 10 square metres. With a rose head it distributes around 1 l of water over one square metre. If you want to water the entire garden with it, you will have to fill the can several times.

A garden hose connected to the water supply is more practical. It delivers water at the push of a button. You can use it to reach all corners of the garden and water without interruption, depending on the hose length. Spiral hoses are great on patios. They can be stored there and take up little space.

Young vegetable plants are best supplied with a drip hose. You can also water container plants in this way.

Watering with a porous Perl hose makes sense for hedges and narrow beds. You can also bury these. This makes them invisible. However, this hose needs to run for a long time to ensure it provides enough water for the plants.

Larger beds and lawn areas are best watered with a sprinkler. You can also supply water with a garden pump from a rain barrel or cistern. Set up the sprinkler and let it run until around 20 l have been distributed for every square metre. You can determine the amount with a rain gauge.

Sprinkler on the lawn
You can easily water large areas with a sprinkler. This will save you time and effort.

Automatic Garden Watering

If you go away on holiday or find yourself too short on time to take care of watering the garden, an automatic garden waterer is a good choice.

You could consider a water storage box on the balcony for this, but also a fully-automatic system with soil sensors, pop-up irrigation or drip hoses. You can often control these via an app.

These systems require a lot of effort to install. However the time saved in the future makes the effort worthwhile. The garden then more or less waters itself and you don’t have to worry about it any more.

Automatic Watering with an Olla

A much more simple solution for automatically watering the garden is the so-called ‘Olla’. This is a clay pot filled with water. It slowly releases the water into the ground through the pot walls and thereby supplies vegetable patches and also raised beds with water, bit by bit.

Save Water when Watering the Garden

Caring for plants in the garden
Plants not only need care, but also regular watering. So you should always think about regular watering in the garden. ©MSG/Martin Staffler

You need a lot of water in the garden to supply your plants. However, you can reduce the water consumption with a few simple measures:

  1. Raking
    Keep the soil moving regularly with a rake. When you rake, you destroy the fine tubes in the ground through which water was deposited upwards. After raking the upper layer does dry out. However, the earth underneath remains damp.
  2. Mulching
    Cover the soil with bark compost, lawn cuttings, leaves or gravel. This makes it more difficult for the water to evaporate. The earth stays damp for longer. You can collect leaves in the garden without a great deal of effort using the 18 volt leaf blower.
  3. Modest Plants
    If you want to save water, you can also do this with a wider variety of plants in the garden. Bronze fennel, greater spurge hawkmoth, yarrow, sage, lavender and thyme all require very little water.
  4. Watering rims in pots as well

Ensure a watering wall in container plants. You can do this by not positioning them up to the pot edge in the plant container, but a little deeper. If you don’t fill the pot to the top with soil, the pot rim automatically forms a watering rim. So less water will run over the rim without being used.

Watering the Garden: Here’s the Easy Way to Do It
Watering the garden is essential if you want lush, green lawns, wonderfully blooming flowers and a rich harvest of trees and bushes. You can find out here what watering options you have and what you need to watch out for.