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Saving rainwater is the best way to minimise water use in the garden. Fix a water butt to every rainwater downpipe on your house, shed, greenhouse, conservatory or garage. Slimline models are available for smaller gardens.
Use water-retaining crystals or gel to retain water in containers so you don't have to water them so often. Organic, seaweed-based options are available. Line terracotta pots with polythene to reduce evaporation from the sides of the pot.
Mulch soil around plants with straw or bark to prevent evaporation of water from the soil's surface. This will also ward off slugs and prevent weeds from growing, which compete with your plants for water and nutrients.
Avoid using sprinklers in the garden. They are not very efficient and can use up to 1000 litres of water an hour. Use seep hoses instead, which can be hidden beneath the soil and deliver water droplets directly to plants' roots.
Use grey water from your baths, showers and washing up bowls rather than fresh water from the tap. Grey water contains minimal amounts of soap and detergent, though an eco-friendly washing detergent should be used if you have frogs or other pondlife.
Encourage your plants to develop deep root systems by watering them less frequently. Plants watered regularly will have shallow roots, because they do not need to delve deep into the soil in search for water. A good soak once every 10 days is sufficient for most plants.