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Save time and save water with the best automatic timers, irrigation systems and handy planters General Valve
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The best garden watering system will keep your plants and lawn hydrated throughout this hot weather. We’ve been having some extreme heat recently, and rather than simply watering your garden with the best garden hose you can find, an irrigation system will do the work for you, which makes watering larger gardens much easier.
This is the perfect solution to keep your garden fresh, especially after working so hard on it with the likes of the best garden shredder and best cordless lawn mower.
With one of these irrigation systems in place, you can spend more time relaxing and enjoying your wonderful garden – perhaps chilling in the best hot tub while some delicious food cooks on one of the best barbecues.
So for those self-watering systems, check out our full round up below.
One of the worst things about a sprinkler system is that it’s all too easy to forget to turn the damn thing off. You set it off at 6pm and carry on with life as usual, only noticing at bedtime – or worse, in the morning – that the sprinkler’s still running. This is not only a gross waste of precious water but if you have a water meter fitted, you’ll likely receive a whopping bill from the water supplier for your absent-mindedness. Your flowers won’t be too happy either.
What you need is a simple spring-loaded timer like this brilliant model from Gardena. Simply screw it onto the outdoor tap (it comes with two sizes of tap connector), push and clip the hose to the unit’s outlet and turn the dial (rather like an old fashioned cooking timer) to anywhere between five and 120 minutes. Boom, the sprinkler springs to life and stops roughly at the time you set. If using a hose gun for an undefined period of time, simply turn the dial to continuous and water will flow for as long as you have your finger on the trigger.
There are no batteries involved with this little baby, just a simple twist is all that’s required. In fact, it’s so easy my cat uses it to scare away the neighbourhood toms.
If you’re looking for something more sophisticated than a simple twist timer like the Gardena reviewed above, then consider this fully-auto battery-powered entry from Amazon player Johgee. For the price (under £30), it offers loads of handy automation like daily timers (every day to odd days), length of watering, plus a rain delay button which you need to manually tap if precipitation is on the horizon. It also has a child lock so youngsters can’t mess things up.
The big LCD screen is a major plus here because it’s so thoughtfully laid out and easy to understand without so much as a glance at the manual. The battery remaining icon is a bonus too and, speaking of batteries, you’ll need to buy a couple of AAs because it doesn’t come with any. Like most water timers, the Johgee comes with two sizes of outdoor tap connector plus a selection of different rubber washers.
This is an ideal system to use when going away for a period of time. Just make sure it’s all connected to your sprinkler or irrigation system and the tap is in the open position, and rest in the knowledge that you won’t come home to an arid landscape.
You can compare an identical watering system to this one with the Gardena model below in T3's OMORC Water Timer vs Gardena Water Timer (opens in new tab) comparison feature.
Here’s another cracking water timer for automatic irrigation of lawns and flower beds. To use, simply bung in a couple of AA batteries, attach the unit to your tap and plug the hose into the other side. The controller is fitted with a daylight sensor that automatically opens the tap at dawn and dusk, keeping your lawn, flowerbeds or greenhouse plants in tip-top condition. You can easily set the number of days required and even how long you want the watering session to last, from two to 60 minutes. And if you ever need to use the hose outside of the scheduled periods, just tap the grey Water Now button and squirt.
This convenient garden nanny works well with any standard hosepipe/sprinkler combo. Nevertheless, despite the fact it has a light sensor fitted, it's not quite up to the mark set by the excellent Johgee and Gardena reviewed above.
This irrigation pump from Bosch is a brilliant watering solution for those with a water butt on their land. Instead of having to faff about with watering cans, the GardenPump 18 uses cordless technology to pump water from the butt through your hosepipe to a water gun or sprinkler.
Simply mount the battery control unit to a wall or wooden post next to the butt, feed in the supplied suction hose with pump attached and loop the hose guide over the lip of the butt. Now grab a pre-charged Bosch 18v 2.5aH battery from your tool shed – or purchase one online – and clip it into the control unit. The whole shebang is now ready to plug in a hose and get watering without increasing your already extortionate water bill.
This cordless pump pushes out about 10 litres of water a minute and produces a spray with a very decent reach; not a dribble as you might expect. The Bosch GardenPump 18 works efficiently with hoses up to 25m in length. For outright eco-friendly convenience this efficient garden gadget takes some beating. It’s not too pricey either.
To see how this Bosch system fares against our top choice of garden watering system, then be sure to take a look at T3's OMORC Water Timer vs Bosch GardenPump 18 (opens in new tab) comparison feature.
Rainfall alone is rarely enough to sate the appetite of the average pot plant which can dry out in a matter of hours if left unattended in the midsummer sun. The trouble is, few of us ever remember to grab the watering can, only realising this mistake when the geraniums start taking on the appearance of a pressed flower from grandma’s Dickens collection.
Well here comes Gardena to the rescue with a competent but slightly eccentric contraption comprised of a bucket of water, a solar-powered pump, some irrigation tubes and a pile of pressure-compensation drippers.
Tank Ball Valve Simply fill the bucket with water (preferably with a lid on top to slow evaporation), feed the provided tube to up to 20 pots at a time and attach the drippers. Now connect it all to the solar pump and choose one of 14 pre-defined watering programs. Voila, water is automatically drawn from the bucket and drip fed to every pot on the patio. Simple, effective.