Drought tolerant gardening

The capital is hotting up - climate change means London's summers are likely to be hotter and drier.

London's gardens can help our city and its wildlife cope with the adverse effects of climate change.
There are over three million gardens in the capital. They can provide shade, absorb carbon, retain water and help to cool buildings.
A well-managed network of gardens stretching across the capital would also help wildlife to move more freely and adapt to climate change.
Whether you've got a tiny window box, small roof garden or large suburban garden, every area can be turned into an oasis that is wildlife friendly and water efficient. Garden for a Living London!

How to save water in your garden

  • Use a water butt and other containers to collect rainwater.
  • Water plants early in the morning and evening and use a watering can filled with harvested rainwater to better reach the roots.
  • Check the weather forecast for rain - only water if not enough rain falls.
  • Plant drought resistant wildlife friendly plants like lavender, rosemary, sedum, thyme, evening primrose and teasel that are attractive and loved by bees and butterflies.
  • Leave your grass long (50mm or longer) as this helps to retain moisture by reducing evaporation from the soil as well as providing shelter and supporting nectar plants.
  • Install a bird bath for birds to bathe in and drink from.
  • Fill bird baths and bird drinking containers from a water butt or other rainwater harvesting container.
  • Use large containers, lined with plastic and topped with mulch, for window boxes, roof gardens, decking and patios. They don't dry out too quickly and are low maintenance.
  • Create cool damp areas for mini-beasts like caterpillars, beetles and newts.
  • Make a pond in your garden.
  • Only use peat-free soil products in your garden.
  • Use peat-free mulch around plants to help retain water.
  • Include a butterfly drinking station, which is a shallow container with harvested rainwater, sand and rocks for butterflies to perch on when they drink.
  • Increase soft and porous areas such as shrubbery and lawns.
  • Plant broad-leaved trees - ideally native species - to provide shade for plants and wildlife as well as nesting sites.