The Best Times and Methods to Water the Garden

As a youngster I used to love nothing more than watering my nan’s garden, I am not sure whether it was the fact I could press a trigger on the hose and soak whatever or whoever I wanted, but still to this day if there is a hose lying around and the sun is out then I am more than happy to give it a squeeze and “have a bit of fun”.

Watering your garden is not as easy as waiting for it to rain and letting the elements do the work. A surprising number of people do this and only reach for the hose when the rain has become irregular; if only it was that easy. A drought will quickly have you scrambling to the wildlife, and a lack of water will also have an adverse affect on your plants.

Today’s busy lifestyles mean we do not necessarily have the time in our schedules to devote a great amount of time to watering the garden, however with these simple steps and utilising a few handy gadgets, your garden will be looking vibrant and healthy in no time.

When to Water the Garden

You will have heard so many times in your life the old fashioned saying of ‘only water your garden at night time’ but is that really correct? The way I like to explain it to my children when out gardening at home is like this:

If, in the morning we woke up and did not have a drink until the evening, chances are we would be severely dehydrated and have a blinding headache to deal with. I am not sure of the science behind this or if plants can get a headache but I do know one thing; if I was out in the sun all day without a drink I would be slightly annoyed. Not only that, birds often drink from plants when another water supply isn’t available so you’ll attract these birds too.

So the very best time to water the garden is early in the morning, allowing the plants plenty of liquid to last the day. When doing so make certain that water always gets to the roots as sprinkling on the foliage really has very little benefit at all. Talking about roots, having excellent soil will help with drainage and root growth. Here’s some handy steps to keeping your soil in good condition.

Early evening is the next best time but you also need to be aware that if the night is a hot one, any good soaking that you give the garden, can have adverse effects by allowing fungus and other plant related diseases to attack the plants as they will stay wet in the humidity.

If you are going to water in the evening then do so but only give your garden a light sprinkle.

Did you know?

Watering during the middle of the day when the sun is at its highest is pointless as the water will evaporate before the plants can drink it up. You knew that didn’t you? Unless you have plenty of mulch and raised beds that is for the moisture to be trapped underneath.

The Best Times and Methods to Water the Garden

A Good Soaking or a Light Sprinkle?

The general rule is to supply your plants with an inch per week, I always do this with a hose pipe and various hose connectors to reach all the way round my garden as a watering can and water butt arrangement would just be far too much work. I tinkered with the idea of an automatic watering system but never actually followed through on it, I did setup a timer though which is pretty similar. An inch of water is about right, give or take for slight fluctuations in the temperature. If the ground is dry then your garden will definitely need a good soaking but not necessarily every day. It’s always best to monitor it with the naked eye and if your plants are looking somewhat dishevelled then you know what to do. In low temperatures then once a week will be just about right. The best way to test is to do the finger test. Simply place your index finger into the ground as far as it will go and if the ground is still moist then avoid watering.

Did you know?

Too much water can be dangerous to your flowers and plants but in high temperatures then every other day is deemed to be sufficient for the watering process.

Best Methods to Water

There are many devices that can assist you with watering the garden especially if you have a busy lifestyle and are unable to water it at the most important times.


As much as I love watering the garden it is not always practical and I have a sprinkler system for my lawn that is set on a timer. It takes a bit of practice to get the timings correct but after several attempts, I managed to perfect it and I have now have a fairly decent lawn that doesn’t get water-logged or under watered – both of which I have encountered when I have been mowing the lawn, most inconvenient. I do not recommend using this type of system with vegetables or plants as you need to get to the roots. it works stunningly well on fast draining troughs and hanging baskets though.

Root Feeders

There are a variety of these on the market that are quite useful although I do not speak from experience with these devices, a friend of mine uses them and I strongly advise to research beforehand as placing them too deeply can completely miss the roots of your shrubs.

Trigger/Spray Gun Attachments

A definite favourite of mine and if you get a multi spray version then this can be used in a variety of ways from a misty spray to a pressure jet, depending on what you are using it on. It takes a bit longer to water the garden this way but if you have the time on your hands then it can definitely be the most efficient method.

Watering Can

The good old watering can has been a strong ally for any gardener and it is highly unlikely to ever go away. A valuable tool in any gardeners shed.

Teaching Children

On this blog we have always promoted teaching children how to garden, not only does it promote a valuable life skills but it means you can relax and put your feet up! I am joking of course, kids love playing with water and the last thing that your plants need is to be drowned in the very thing that gives them life; so be patient and teach them correctly.

These are just some of the various methods that gardeners use all over the world but if you have any more handy tips and tricks that we can use and perhaps let us know.

About Terry Smith

I’m Terry Smith from, a professional landscape designer, hobbyist gardener, and barbecue fanatic with 20 years experience building and restoring. So as you go through my site you'll watch me document some of the professional garden installs I make as well as the major projects I take on at home. While sharing those experiences and guiding you, I'll be recommending some great tools I use to enable this along the way so you can really buy in confidence. Always feel free to pop me a message:

View all posts by Terry Smith

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *