Wednesday 3 July 2013

Do I need a hosepipe?

Hosepipe-bans are (here in the UK, at least) the subject of any number of jokes. It appeals to our cynical sense of humour that just when we most want to use a hosepipe, we are forbidden to to so. It happens with monotonous regularity! Last Spring (I mean 2012) we had really hot dry weather in February and March, so the authorities slapped on a hosepipe ban. Dire predictions of a prolonged drought were made. The ban would probably have to remain in force until Christmas, they said. Famous last words! It then proceeded to be the wettest Summer and Autumn for decades. So, does a person really need a hosepipe?

Well, Yes, I say. At least theoretically. The theory says that if you have a hosepipe you will have to do much less carting of water to your garden in watering-cans. You could also use the hosepipe for washing your car (I don't), or (God forbid) washing your drive-way. Actually, the thing I find a hosepipe most useful for is topping-up my water-butt. In my small garden I often need only a relatively small quantity of water, and a can or two from the water-butt is enough - not really worth getting out the hosepipe. However, our rainfall is often not sufficient to keep the water-butt full, hence the need for occasional re-filling.

I was recently asked by Argos to review this rather smart hosepipe set from Hozelock.

Hozelock sell a big variety of different hosepipe-related items, but this is a combination of an empty hose-reel and a 50m length of hose. You can get 15m and 25m lengths of hose too, but my outside tap is rather inconveniently situated on the opposite side of my house to the vegetable garden, so I needed the longer one. With suitable adapters you can of course join different lengths of hose to make whatever length you require. The reel with which I was supplied will accommodate up to 60m of hose.

The first thing to note is that the cart (delivered by a carrier, flat-packed) does need a little bit of self-assembly - a screwdriver is required (and a fair bit of brute force!). Not a big problem unless you are elderly or infirm, but I did find it very hard to get the two main parts of the reel to clip together snugly.

You can also stop worrying about whether the hose comes with a tap-adapter. It does. The hose comes with all the necessary bits for connecting it to your tap and to your hose-reel, as well as an adjustable-aperture nozzle which means that you can get just the right amount of water onto your plants.

Fortunately the kit also comes with a very clear set of instructions, so there is no doubt about how things fit together:

The kit has all the necessary pieces for fixing the reel to a wall if you wish to do this. I chose not to do so, which meant that the assembly was completed in just a few minutes, and then it was just a question of winding the hose onto the reel. This is actually easier said than done. My 50m of hose evidently had a mind of its own and putting it onto the reel was like wrestling with an angry Boa Constrictor! How it developed so many kinks, so rapidly, I shall never understand...  Anyway, I won in the end:-

I know from previous experience that Hozelock's hose is very durable and most unlikely to crack, and it is nicely flexible, which makes it easy to use and to rewind. Just one thing to be aware of: a reel with 50m of hose on it is actually pretty heavy to cart around - which I suppose is why many people will choose to mount their hose-reel on a wall.

If you do decide you need to buy a hosepipe, I think this one should definitely be on your shortlist. I had mine in action delivering much-needed water to my veggies within minutes of the assembly job.

Note: The items for review were kindly donated by Argos, but the views expressed here are mine, and honest ones too!


  1. I totally agree with you that it's hard to keep water butts topped up from rainfall alone. We don't have any water supply at the allotment and our water butts empty in no time at all, we end up having to take water with us for use on anything desperate for a drink, everything else has to fend for itself. I do use a hosepipe in the garden, it would take forever to water all the containers filled with spuds with a watering can, though it has been done on occasion.

  2. We haven't had a ban on watering in several years. Around our area when they do, do it, it is usually that you can not water on odd numbered calendar days, or something like that. I'm glad that they haven't done a hose-ban, water buckets can be hard work. I'm glad to see that your hose reel came with good instructions, sometimes that's not the case, LOL.
    Have a great weekend,

  3. We avoided last year's hose-pipe ban and also use a hose to fill water butts outside the garden greenhouse.

    We also use one on the plot attached to a sprinkler system so we can do other things whilst the garden is being watered,

    We do use cans a lot though as this way you can judge how much water each plant is getting.

  4. I have hose-pipe envy.
    Hoses really do have a life of their own I feel.
    I would love one of those can you can reel-in.

  5. Many years ago when I lived in England my family used to scoff at the weather forecast and mutter under their breath that a piece of seaweed (bladder wrack) nailed to an outside wall would be a more accurate forecast of upcoming weather. I am guessing by your post the accurate forecasting of weather in the U.K. hasn't changed much in 40 years.


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