Heatwave 2020: how to protect your garden in the hot weather

The humid temperatures of August often catch gardeners by surprise, causing grass to dry and flowers to wilt, so get the garden looking its best with these practical tips.

Being isolated in our homes has led to months of carefully pruning and perfecting our gardens. With this weekend set to be another scorcher, many will be looking to protect their hard-earned garden in the hot weather.

garden in the hot weather

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)


Although we look forward to soaking up the sun, our gardens will be parched if we’re not careful. To help, the experts at The Greenhouse People have given their top tips for protecting outdoor spaces when things get hot.


Hosepipe bans are a common heatwave annoyance, but it can save our plants from over-watering when temperatures rise which can cause them to leach nutrients and cut off the supply of oxygen to the roots. Instead, pick up the watering can and provide focussed watering at the base of the plant, so roots can benefit as quickly as possible.

When it’s hot, the best time of day to water is early morning or in the evening. Plants in containers should be watered twice a day, as soil dries out much quicker in pots. Bonus points if you use re-use rainwater from a water butt.

Heatwave 2020

(Image credit: Emma Lee)


If you add new plants to your garden in the summer, plant on a cloudy day and water well if the weather is warm. Increase the plant’s chances of surviving the heat by using half mulch half potting mix.

You might also want to consider drought-resistant plants alongside more heat-sensitive varieties to keep your garden looking healthy. Herbs such as rosemary, marjoram and lavender love the heat and their flavour and become more intense in the hot summer months.

garden in the hot weather

(Image credit: David Giles)


The best way to breathe some life back into plants suffering in a heatwave is providing long-lasting moisture and rich nutrients. Most gardeners can appreciate the benefit of mulching. This can hinder weeds, eliminating the need for hard work when you’d rather be sipping a cool drink in the shade, as well as offer nutrient-rich organic matter to provide a lifeline when things get hot.

If you lay down a thick layer, the top few inches of soil where most root activity occurs will be kept moist and cool. This will increase your crop yield if you’re a vegetable gardener and reduce the amount of watering needed no matter what you’re growing.

An item which will increase water retention is vermiculite. This can be found in potting soil or purchased by itself. A miracle product for gardeners, vermiculite increases nutrient retention and aerates the soil, resulting in healthier plants.

How to protect your garden in a heatwave

(Image credit: K E Smith)


To keep your lawn lush during a heatwave, it is not necessary to use your entire postcode’s water supply. A well-established lawn should require minimal watering in increased temperatures. Once a week should be enough and your mowing routine should drop to once a week during periods of drought.

Before you mow, check the blades are sharp, to give a clean cut to the grass. When mowing, adjust your blade to a higher setting to ensure grass stems provide maximum shade to the soil. Afterwards, leave the cuttings instead of raking to provide shade and to avoid damaging your lawn.

How to protect your garden in a heatwave

(Image credit: Annaick Guitteny)
Jennifer Ebert
Jennifer Ebert

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.