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Why not fit a water butt this winter Here’s are top tips

The weather's becoming more changeable, so make the most of the rain by fitting a water butt in your garden. It's the most environmentally friendly way to water your plants - and better for them than hard tap water because it doesn't leave limescale deposits. As we approach winter, why not start collecting the winter rainfall to us on plants in the spring. Great for cutting water bills and also plants prefer rain water to tap water.

Water butts come in all shapes and sizes, so choose one that suits the size and style of your garden. If you want to make a style statement, go for one of the many decorative water butts on the market - designed to be as attractive as they are practical. But if you're short of space, choose a slim-line design.

1. If your house or building only has one downpipe, that's where the water butt should go, but if you have more than one, choose the most convenient and put the stand for the butt underneath it. The stand enables you to fill up a watering can easily from the tap on the butt. When positioning the stand, make sure the ground is level and solid - it shouldn't be placed on uneven or sinking ground.

2. Put the water butt on the stand and mark how high it is on the downpipe, then use a hacksaw to cut off the downpipe 3cm below this point. Slot the rain diverter (this, and a water-butt connector, should come with the butt, or you can buy them separately) onto the end of the downpipe.

3. Measure down 8cm from the top of the water butt and drill a hole for the water-butt connector, then attach it to both the butt and rain diverter with the fittings supplied. When everything's connected, put on the lid to keep out leaves, insects and other nasties.

Water Butt advice from Sembcorp Water

"Whilst most water butts are of very strong construction, we do always advise users to be aware of the damaging effects of extremely cold weather. This is particularly relevant if the level of water in the butt is very low then the possiblity of frost damage to the tap area is increased. If severe wintery conditions are forecast, we would recommend draining the butt and leaving the tap open until such time as the danger of frost has passed (but make sure that the drained water is not allowed to stand on pathways which might later become a dangerous ice rink)". Life Begins 29

PA Photo/B&Q

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