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I live in London and am about to have the beds planted (late I know). I'm thinking about watering... I currently have an oscillating sprinkler (and a timer) that I place in the middle of the garden and drape the hose around the garden. The sprinkler has the positive side effect of watering the beds and grass. Garden is 12m long, 7m wide and the tap is past the patio and down the side of the house (bottom right).

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I am trying to work out what to do about watering (as automated as possible without lots of hose hanging about) :

  1. Bury a hose in the bed to avoid the hose spralling across the garden (purple), add connectors and plug in the sprinkler on a 3m hose in the summer

  2. Or bury the hose all the way to the middle of the garden (purple and blue), have a connector (like https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gardena-8250-U-Pipeline-Water-Connector/dp/B0035WQMR0) burried in the grass (red) and connect the sprinkler on a 1ft hose.

  3. As 2 but try and find a popup sprinkler that will water the entire space.

  4. Install 2 sprinklers (black spots).

Never had a garden before so I'm clueless! Thanks for your advice!

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    Get a tree service to deliver a load of wood chips, then follow the Back to Eden rules, and the water will be held in the soil – black thumb Jun 22 '18 at 6:26
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You live in the UK. Even in London, water is not usually an issue except during hot, dry weather in late spring and summer, and I know because that's where I live too. Given that's the case, a proper system with pop up sprinklers is a bit sledgehammer and nut, so to speak. You are right in that planting now gives you a watering issue right up until November, because new plants need regular water supplies. Larger shrubs and trees also will need watering during dry spells next year - after that, they'll be fine without for around 3 months,it'll be the smaller plants like perennials and groundcovers that won't cope for that length of time, 2-3 weeks being about the limit for those. But the fact is, even in hot, dry weather, your plants will do much better with a good soak (couple of hours) once a week than they will with more frequent, less deep watering. This is because you want the plants to put down good root systems, so any watering you do should be copious, because anything less won't penetrate very far into the soil; plants are then encouraged to put out roots nearer the surface, waiting for you to turn the sprinklers on frequently rather than going down and eventually seeking out their own water.

If the idea of getting the hose out and standing the sprinkler in the centre of the lawn for a couple of hours once a week seems too much, you could consider what's commonly known as 'leaky hose', but marketed as seep or soaker hose. This type of watering system comprises a fibrous hose which seeps water into the surrounding soil, and is intended to be buried so it's not visible. The drawback with it is if you need or want to dig an area over, either to remove unwanted plants or to plant something else, you inevitably end up either putting your fork through the hose or digging it up, then trying to bury it again. An example of that type of watering system here https://www.easy-irrigation.co.uk/landscape-watering-leaky-hose-c-240_50?zenid=50g5usiggbiprb1t9brr4ajfs7, but the usual advice is to use it every other day. This type of system is very useful for an area with planting that is not intended to be replaced, nor the area dug over, such as hedged areas, but many people do use this system regardless.

Alternatively, suggestion No. 2 in your question might be a good idea,but you'd need to be fully aware of precisely where you buried the hose - later, you're likely to be reducing the lawn to expand the beds, so knowing where you buried it and being able to find it without damaging it will be important.

  • Thanks! Do you water your lawn / beds at all? How often?Have you done so this year? – Joe Jun 22 '18 at 6:56
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    Never water the lawn, ever. the only time I water lawns is if they've not long been laid (turf) or seeded, but after that, never. No matter how brown they get, they always recover, maybe with a bit more moss the following year. And yes, borders have been watered with a spike sprinkler attached to a hose, first time last week, will need doing again in four or five days - we've not had a drop of rain here for over 6 weeks, apart from a few drops - we missed all the recent showers. – Bamboo Jun 22 '18 at 11:51

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