Green spaces need water

How to maintain green spaces with clever watering

Green Spaces Need Water © GARDENA

Gardens, balconies and patios are all important green spaces that provide a safe haven for people and animals, have a positive impact on the microclimate and filter particulates from the air. Clever watering strategies need to be implemented if gardens are going to keep growing and storing CO2 going forward.

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Gardens struggle to cope with extended heat waves followed by heavy rainfall. With long periods of extreme heat becoming longer and longer, green spaces are more important than ever. Water is critical so they can survive and keep naturally regulating the temperature locally in the long term. It falls to gardeners to ensure that a sufficient supply of water is always available – especially during long dry spells.

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The changing weather conditions are no reason for gardeners to bury their heads in the sand and hang up their gardening gloves. By adopting a clever approach to watering, gardeners can build a certain degree of resilience to extreme weather in the garden. They can help improve the balance of the microclimate by planting as much luscious greenery as possible in a garden or on a patio or balcony. Trees and shrubs create shaded areas, which keep the soil moist for longer. Water evaporates from their leaves, increasing the humidity locally. Anyone who has sat underneath a tree on a hot summer’s day is sure to have felt this effect.   

Water storage in gardens 

Residential green spaces need a steady and sufficient supply of water to survive and thrive. Gardeners can collect rainwater or work hard to keep their soil healthy so that it can store more water. Sponge cities are growing in popularity in urban planning, with the aim of balancing out the use of water as much as possible. Rainwater is not diverted away from a sponge city as quickly as possible. Instead, it is allowed to trickle away slowly and be absorbed by trees. This reduces the risk of flooding in the event of heavy rainfall. Why not adapt this concept for gardens? A sponge garden should be designed to collect, absorb, and store as much rainwater as possible. That water is stored in the soil in borders filled with shrubs or vegetables. Stone or wooden edging ensures that the soil is not washed away when it rains.  

Healthy soil that can store water helps plants to withstand extended dry periods. Keeping pathways and sitting areas in the garden unsealed too means that water cannot flow away without being used. Instead, it seeps into the ground and is slowly returned to the cycle. Such residential green spaces are a fundamental part of the ecosystem and the water cycle. They store water and return it to the water cycle through evaporationThat is why it is so important to water plants efficiently to keep them healthy – especially during dry spells. Every drop of water has a positive impact on the overall water supply. 

Rainwater collection 

Rainwater can be collected in large water butts or underground tanks. A water pump and automatic watering system can then be used to transport just the right amount of water to exactly where it is needed in the garden.

Green everywhere 

Besides natural habitats like forests, it is not just green spaces like parks that can balance out the effects of climate change, such as overheating and flooding in places where people live. Put together, gardens span a huge area and they can make a big difference too. Gardeners should fill their gardens with as many different types of plants as possible. A study[1] conducted by the University of Sheffield has revealed just how important private gardens are in efforts to tackle climate change. And the EU’s Green Week 2024: Towards a water resilient Europe[2] is spotlighting the topic of water, with different perspectives being considered and possible ways of adapting to the changing availability of water resources being discussed. 

Clever watering 

  • Add an organic layer of mulch (e.g. grass cuttings, leaves or mature compost) to beds filled with shrubs and vegetables to maintain the moisture, improve soil health and support microorganisms living in the soil. 
  • Keep the soil filled with plant life to minimise evaporation and erosion, while stopping the soil from drying out. 
  • Plan out where plants are planted to make watering them more efficient. Do not put plants that need a lot of water in sunny, dry spots. Save those sun-soaked areas for plants that do not mind being dry, such as globe thistles, yarrow, everlastings, wild roses and thyme. 
  • Apply the sponge city concept bycollecting water off the roof and creating natural sumps as a temporary storage solution. 
  • Use permeable solutions for paths and sitting areas so that water can seep away. 
  • Use automatic drip irrigation to provide plants in gardens and pots with the exact amount of water they need, using collected rainwater whenever possible. 
  • Plant more trees and create small structures using a range of hedge plants so that a moist microclimate can form in the shade. 
  • “You can skip watering three times for every time you work the soil with a hoe.” Follow this traditional gardening tip to extend the intervals between watering. 
  • As a general rule, watering a garden thoroughly once every few days is better than watering it a little every day. Plants get used to little-but-often watering and their roots stay on the surface rather than extending deep into the earth. 

More information on efficient water use can be found in the Gardena e-book Clever watering and at www.gardena.com/cleverwatering.  

[1] https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/news/cut-council-tax-green-gardeners-help-cities-tackle-climate-change
[2] https://environment.ec.europa.eu/events/green-week-2024-towards-water-resilient-europe-2024-05-29_en

About Gardena
For over 50 years Gardena has provided everything passionate gardeners need. The broad assortment of products offers innovative solutions and systems for watering, lawn care, tree and shrub care and soil cultivation. Today, Gardena is a leading European supplier of high-quality gardening tools and distributed in more than 100 countries worldwide. Gardena is a brand of Husqvarna Group. Gardena Division has 3,450 employees worldwide. Further information on gardena.com.
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1 Susanne Huber (en)
Susanne Huber
Brand and products

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