London (change)
17 messages
23/04/2013 at 21:24

Hello Ladies/Gents

I'm completing a university project and was hoping some of you would be able to give me some advice? The project is to design a new product and after observing my Grandad and his struggle to collect water in his small(ish) garden I thought there was an opportunity (not to just use a bucket!).

If you could spare me a moment and tell me what you use to collect water? Most purchasable water butts are too big for his garden.

My initial thoughts are to design a reasonably small collapsible water butt that could be easily stored away when not required? I also thought you could somehow pick it up and use it for watering too (would really depend on weight!!)

Any thoughts/comments/feedback would be really appreciated and helpful!!



23/04/2013 at 21:41




                   sorry i am not helping,





23/04/2013 at 21:48

Thanks for the reply! I suppose it would fit the criteria of sustainable just need a supply of skins if it takes off lol!

23/04/2013 at 21:56

There are small slimline water butts available nowadays, as well as the large ones.   I am not sure about folding one up or putting it away when not needed.     When is water not needed?     I have a total of nine water butts, and often it is a problem to keep them filled!

24/04/2013 at 11:38

When you think of something chances are it's already been done.. collapsible water butt certainly has. There are many online, i think even tesco direct sell a smallish one. 

24/04/2013 at 11:49

Hi i have  recyled an old rectangle  plastic water tank on my allotment.

A small container would soon be filled and overflow!

24/04/2013 at 21:40

I agree its very difficult to come up with something that hasn't already been marketed/patented. I suppose there is always the opportunity to improve on an idea? I've placed this request on a couple of sites because I wasn't sure I'd get any feedback - so thank you all very much!

GardenGirl6 nine water butts surely must be excessive . During my last assignment I read a report of the RHS that said gardens in the UK only need watering during 6 weeks of the year (it did exclude the south of England). I'm not an obsessed gardener yet but it annoys me how many locals still regularly fill their watering cans up at outside taps!

24/04/2013 at 21:59

Hmmm. If you have pots and tubs, you have to water. There are times when my two water butts overflow, here in wet Wales, but in drought, they soon dry up. Some plants are drought tolerant, but others are both greedy and very thirsty. Conifers in pots, for example, can drink the best part of a gallon of water a day. My garden is small, but one water butt would not be enough for drier spells. Something depends, too, on one's style of gardening, but it would be difficult to concentrate on drought tolerant plants here. It is too wet. As for using outside taps, that's the fall-back position if you do not have enough water butts!! We have a water meter and pay for what we use. Britain is not actually short of water. It is short of reservoirs and that is a situation that can be rectified.

24/04/2013 at 22:14

This garden is a free-draining sandy loam, and is also quite dry in places because of the mature trees on the far boundary - I used about 8 large watering cans full of water this evening just on shrubs and climbers planted last autumn and some perennials that need a bit of tlc in their first spring in this garden.  We have water butts on all our downpipes and use grey water too, but one of our butts is already empty and another one is only half full.

East Anglia has long been known as the driest part of the country so we certainly need to water quite a bit more than 6 weeks of the year.

24/04/2013 at 22:18
How about a series of connected watering cans working on the syphon principle? Could even be all filled in parallel from a horizontal trough. That could be an easily expandable system, just buy more watering cans. All rights reserved, you read it hear first. Unless I saw it somewhere else of course
24/04/2013 at 22:43

We do too, even though this is one of the wettest parts of the country. We would have to abandon the use of pots and tubs, otherwise. Spreading shrubs and trees allow little water to enter their pot, even in heavy rain. The more intensive the planting, often the only real choice in a small garden, the more watering is needed. Then there is the greenhouse and things grown under other covered areas. Hence the water butts.

25/04/2013 at 07:31
What about designing a water butt that has a dual purpose? For example, a hollow plastic bench but somehow with a tap maybe on the arm? Or an attractive planter shaped butt? Even hollow plastic fencing? Or design something that allows you to direct sink or bath water to a butt that could be sold to house builders?
25/04/2013 at 07:37

Or how about a planter with a rainwater water storage feature? Water butts are not beautiful and can tend to dominate a smaller garden.

25/04/2013 at 07:58
I've got 6 water butts dotted round the place, including a slimline one next to the greenhouses which fills off the gh guttering. The plug ugly standard ones are away from the main part of the garden, and I have 3 'beehive' butts in there, which are ridged terracotta plastic and do look like big garden urns ( ish).
I've seen other 'decorative' ones as well, meant to look like Roman columns.
The beehive butts blend well with the rest of the terracotta pots. When I'm watering/ liquid feeding the pots I often fill a big garden trug with water, sometimes adding liquid seaweed feed. I submerge the manageable sized pots in the trug, and leave them there until bubbles have stopped rising. Then I drain them in another trug, and pour that back into the first one. I know it might sound a bit of a hassle, but there's minimal loss from water running out of the bottom of the pots, and I know they've had a good drink. I used to be concerned about the possibility of transferring pests/ diseases, but have never found it to be a problem.
I guess it takes as much effort as lugging round watering cans.
25/04/2013 at 10:38

Again thanks for the discussion and points raised they're all really helpful. We have a moderately sized garden and have two large water butts fed off the garage gutting. As I said previously I'm probably not in the same league as some of you gardeners but we often find that we run dry quickly and it does, in our case, seem to be the pots/hanging baskets/window boxes that are the main draws.

The butts are ugly, but again probably like most of you they're stored out of site. The issue my Grandad has is because of his small garden the butt has to be on show 24/7 and he grumbles about the space it takes up. I'll maybe suggest giving up the gardening hobby!

I'm going to have a look into the more decorative types for inspiration.

Tootles/Gardening Grandma thanks for your idea suggestions; things I'd not even considered. I might use some of them as part of my proposal document if that's OK?

Thanks again everybody for your time and feedback your posts are really appreciatedl!!!


25/04/2013 at 11:45
25/04/2013 at 15:13

I live in the west of Scotland.

We don't need water butts...

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