...we're having a heatwave!

While it would be ungrateful to complain when we get good weather in the UK, we do have to expend some extra thought and energy into looking after gardens and plants. Watering is a relatively simple - and for many, enjoyable - chore. But these insights and tips will help you make the most of the time and effort you put into it.

- To avoid immediate evaporation, the best times to water are early mornings, and evenings, when the sun has set.

- To establish whether you should be watering beds, check the feel of the soil at about 6' - 8' - if it feels damp, there's no need to water, but some plants will require a bit of help if the soil feels dry to the touch.

- Plants in pots will need regular watering - If you (or at least the Met Office) are anticipating a drought, water the garden thoroughly and regularly before it sets in.

- Light watering is sometimes worse than no watering at all. It can encourage the plants to develop shallow roots which in turn makes them more susceptible to drought.

- Make sure that you have good drainage for all your plants as continuing to water when it has nowhere to drain causes bad conditions for your plants. - Different kinds of soil require different watering methods. Sandy soils benefit from frequent but light watering; heavier soils need more water less frequently.

- Generally speaking, the most effective watering is done with a hose or watering can, aiming the flow at the stems beneath the foliage. - Established trees and shrubs with deep roots should be capable of withstanding drought situations. But those that have been established for less than five years will need help during extended periods without rain.

- New areas of planting will need regular watering as they are particularly vulnerable. - Vegetables will need plenty of attention during dry periods, particularly leafy crops. - Weeds use up lots of soil moisture, so help the plants you want by removing the ones you don't!

- If you can't bear the idea of a brown lawn, you should water regularly and thoroughly - a light sprinkle will do more harm than good. But if time is short, or you are reluctant to use so much water, don't panic, the lawn will quickly recover when the rains return. Help it out by mowing less frequently and less closely.

- Finally, gather rain water in a water butt to ease the strain on your water bills and the environment!

Enjoy the sunshine, and happy gardening

The Streetwise Team