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Gardening Businesses Now Exempt But Bans Continue

Water companies have announced that landscaping, turf and gardening businesses were made exempt from the hosepipe ban after it was confirmed that record rainfall had reduced the severity of the ongoing water shortage in the South and East of England.

Turf growers and commercial gardeners will be able to water newly laid turf and plants with a hosepipe for up to 28 days. The adjustment to the ban by all seven water companies follows the exceptionally wet April, which has led to the partial recovery of water levels in reservoirs and in some aquifers.

Although some reservoirs can now be seen filled to the brim, groundwater stocks remain lower than they should be at this time of year and for that reason water companies will keep their water restrictions in place for now. Therefore the hosepipe ban remains firmly in place for domestic customers.

However, the need to apply for even greater restrictions has now subsided as water stocks have been replenished to some extent.

As the sunshine finally makes an appearance the Environment agency gave this report on the current situation:

“Due to the recent rainfall, south west England, the Midlands and parts of Yorkshire are no longer in drought. Parts of East Anglia and the south east of England still remain in drought, with water company restrictions in place on public water use. It has been another wet week across England and Wales with rainfall totals ranging from 13mm in our Anglian region to 51mm in our North West region. But soil moisture deficits have started to increase again, particularly across central, southern, south west and eastern England.”

66 replies on “Gardening Businesses Now Exempt But Bans Continue”

I live in a housing co-op and we have shared public lawns. As a business are we exempt from bans if the work is carried out by the Gardening Team or would we need to hire an external contractor.

There are no hosepipe bans at the moment and it’s unlikely there will be any this year. So you have nothing to worry about now.

If we were under a hosepipe ban I would suggest you’d still need an outside contractor, though these rules do change at the discretion of the water companies and as we have no hosepipe ban currently, it’s difficult to give a definite answer.

This is my tenth season working full-time as a maintenance gardener, in th Veolia area. Does this qualify me as a professional gardener and thus able to use customers’ hosepipes to water plants (but not clean windows or patios, of course)?

Just washed my estate car last Saturday using buckets, what a joke!
Four buckets to rinse off grit to start with,& at least another five to rinse off soap.
Had I been able to use a jetwash my usage would have been less than half that.

Lack of investment (spending money) by global companies who are only interested in making a quick buck has put us in this situation.
As the U.K population has, and continues to grow, we need more water storage built
or perhaps desalination plants, but this aint gonna happen as none of these companies
are planning to be around long enough to have to invest – Quick profit then sell on before
obliged to invest.


No you can only do it with the watering can unless you now live in an area that’s lifted the ban.

hi, im a self employed builder and need to build a wall in my garden, if i use a hose for my cement mixer is this legal if i pay myself?

I shall keep to the ban as much as possible but I am the holder of a Blue Badge and the exception is much appreciated.

Also you can legally install a seeper hose system to water plants , but this must have a timer and a water pressure reduction valve (both under £50 each). This is a specific exception to most water companies bans which seems to have not been widely publicised….hope thats of help to avid gardeners whole system would be less than £200

Just to clarify a number of posts you can hire a company such as a landscaper or driveway cleaning company to jetwash a drive (as long as they do this as part of their normal business) but you cannot do it yourself.You can also now have lawns or planting installed and watered for 28 days by landscapers/gardeners(but not yourself).
Water companies can easily check whether a landscaper/gardening company is bonafide so dont attempt to be one it isnt worth it.Most landscapers/gardeners in London area are charging £20 ish per hour so this is not just for the rich(per 1 post). Generally we can install at a third of the time of a customer so money well spent

My mum works as a gardener for a living and living in the Thames Valley area, she is killing her back using watering cans to water everything she is allowed to. Its a terrible shame, if plants aren’t watered then they dont look good… if they dont look good then you dont get paid/repeat custom! Glad the ban was lifted a little so she can water in her new plants!

The question now is that she has lots of plants here at home in pots growing on purely to sell to her customers that she gardens for. Is she allowed to water these with a hose? She is only wanting to water the plants in pots as it needs doing every day in this hot weather, twice a day for some and they are a long way down the garden. She waters her own plants with a watering can.

Surely as the potted plants are all for sale as part of her business, they can be watered with a hosepipe? (using a controlled nozzle).

Many Thanks.

She should have no problem as it’s part of her business, but you may wish to clarify with your local water company to make sure.

Why does the recent exemption for watering newly laid lawns and plants apply to businesses only, when I have just carried out such works myself (spending in excess of £400 ) but not allowed to do so ?
This is gross discrinination against the householder who does not need to employ external contractors and is taking me hours every day with watering cans (notwithstanding the fact that I would use no more water if using a hosepipe with an adjustable nozzle) to ensure that I do not lose the investment that I have just made !!

builders working and patio is full of sand, cement, and rest. after works completed, are they allowed to jet wash the patio?

So what you ar saying is that the window cleaners can carry on their business to domestic premises but for windows only. I know several window cleaners for whom jet washing patios and paths is a key part of their business and window rounds for domestic and comercial customers. This means they have to stop that part of their business for domestic customers and lose money as no one is going to continue to pay for a cleaner who can not clean?

Hi again Hose

these friends of mine who want their patio Jet Washed, have the blue disabled badge, and they are exempt from the hose pipe ban. Do they have to Jet Wash their own patio or can i do it for them.

The exemption is for the blue badge holder personally, not for anyone else on their behalf.


I run a small aquatic and gardening business that i believe is exempt from the ban. The cricket club i play for needs the wicket watered. If they were to employ me to water it could a hosepipe be used? Failing that, could i fill a few 75 litre drums and take them out to wicket to water it?

Many thanks.

The watering of sports fields is not allowed by anyone, except through the use of irrigation systems or ‘hand held water carriers’ (buckets and watering cans).

Thanks Hose

Seems strange that no measures were in place to prevent this from ever happening. I expect that this will be a thing of the past now considering the effect that these bans have had. Still paying my water bills for this service. Refund anyone?

Sincerely yours,

from an island surrounded by water,


Update: Depends where you are. Thames Water are now allowing filling by buckets but Southern Water are not allowing the filling at all. We’ll update everything as we find out more.

Hose, how come you are answering all these questions, you know full well you’re banned !!!?

Bit of a strange one- we live where our water is not supplied or taken away by Thames even though in their catchment. We are supplied by a private borehole system. Are we included in this ban? I thought we were but others are saying not.

You shouldn’t be included in the ban but it can be a grey area with regards how much water can be taken from a borehole in times of shortage. Best to speak to Thames I think.

I am a Head Chef at Champneys Forest Mere (Spa / Hotel) – i am allowed to water our vegetable patch which provides the kitchen with some vegetables later in the year!!!

Not being funny but we had like a month of rain and were still in drought! That’s just mental. I can’t see that we should be in drought! Now with this good weather I assume the hosepipe ban will be on even longer! How much rain is it going to take?

If I can’t use a hose at home to clean my car. But I can go to a garage and use there hose pipe. In my eyes that doesn’t make any sense! Surely you should send them a ridiculous fine.

Can u fill a pool with a hose pipe and if not can u use a bucket to ,or does that count as wasting water ?? and is the ban in place still in windsor area

Not normally allowed but you should contact Veolia to clarify as being on a meter may have some bearing in your area. Having said that, irrigation systems are allowed.

I feel I would like to be informed by you when a hosepipe ban is put in place and when it is removed. Would it not be a good idea therefore, to leaflet customers with this information? Then we would know exactly where we stand in this regard and not rely on other people’s assumptions as to whether a hosepipe ban applies. I have just thought of looking at the website, since having my computer came back from repair, and gather that a hosepipe ban applies to us in our area – RM11 3RN.

Water companies are only legally obliged to make notices in two local newspapers and on their websites, about any impending water use restrictions.


i run a garden maintenance and landscaping company
can i use jet wash for cleaning patios from now on?

The new exemption is for the watering of new plants and lawns only. However, see my answer to Helen, above.

You can only use them for cleaning where there’s a health and safety issue such as if they were slippery.

dear water company


i pump every drop of water i use into a water but i have got over 1000 gallons stored and i use this supply a lot but i need use a mains tap to prime my siphon when my pump is in use attached to my sprinkler (hose am i allowed to use a hosepipe and sprinkler is the water is form stored and recycled water and pumped out using a submersible pump) and i am mad that its illegal for me to use half a litre of mains tap water to prime my siphon i am going to continued using mains to prime my siphon as half a litre to prime is not going to kill the resivour please answer my question hose thanks

To answer your question generally, yes you can use a hosepipe, sprinkler and pump if it’s drawing from recycled or rainwater. But technically no, you couldn’t use this supply if it meant priming it with mains water.

Why not try contacting your local water company and see if they will be sympathetic to you? It’s at their discretion.

i have recentlry had some truf laid , am i able to use my hose pipe to water it ? it was laid less then a week ago

No, not unless you’re a professional gardener/landscaper/turf layer. You can use buckets or watering cans though or employ a professional to do it for you.

Clarification: If a professional has carried out the planting of turf or plants, as their customer you are given 28 days in which to ‘water-in’ using a hosepipe or sprinklers.

This exemption does not officially apply to the general public who may have planted turf or plants themselves.

In other words, rich people who can afford to hire professionals to plant their gardens can use hose pipes for 28 days. Less well off, who buy plants and plant them themselves cannot.
Tell me again we’re all in this together.

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