Check out these innovative ways to harvest rainwater for sustainably watering your garden and yard!
If you live in a rain-challenged area, watering your garden can get expensive really fast. But no matter where you live, harvesting rainwater can be an easy and affordable way to keep your garden watered – not to mention capture all that water running off your roof that would otherwise go to waste!
In fact, rainwater harvesting is by far the most sustainable way to water your garden and yard.
However, many rainwater collection tanks are, well, not all that pretty, to say the least…
If the aesthetics of your rainwater collection system matter to you – or your community – there are a number of interesting and more attractive options out there to help you harvest rainwater – though some of the newer innovations are not all that easy to get your hands on just yet.
Here are 4 interesting ways to harvest rainwater that you may want to look into:
Artful Ferrocement Tanks
In North America, the vast majority of water tanks are made of plastic or metal. In other parts of the world, ferrocement—a construction technique involving concrete reinforced with metal mesh—is quite common, especially in impoverished places where cheap labor is abundant. The beauty of this approach is that almost any shape is possible—urns, eggs, spheres, giant boulders, mandalas—and the exterior can be sculpted, textured and colored as you like.
The materials for this approach cost significantly less than buying a pre-fab tank, though it takes a fair bit of expertise to build a ferrocement tank that is structurally-sound and doesn’t leak…
Most water tanks are round and bulky, so they stick out like a sore thumb, and they don’t easily fit into small spaces. That’s why a number of companies have developed slim-profile tanks—water walls—that can fit flat against the wall of your house, or even act as an attractive, free-standing landscape feature, much like fence or courtyard wall.
Some of the most compelling examples are from Australia, where water conservation is a serious business. One Australian company makes designer tanks that are meant to be free-standing in the landscape. Another makes structural-strength tanks designed to double as the actual wall of modernist pre-fab homes.
The most architecturally-attractive option available in the U.S. is arguably the Rainwater HOG, which is a system comprised of slim 50-gallon tanks designed to be stacked together like Legos. However, the most widely available option domestically is the (oddly-named) Fat Boy water wall, which kind of resembles a giant, over-stuffed pillow.
Tiny Tanks for Tiny Places
If you live in an apartment and are looking to catch a bit of rainwater for your potted plants, the standard 50-gallon drum is overkill. You could use a 5-gallon bucket, but Dutch designer Bas van der Veer has invented something much more chic: the Raindrop, a tear-dropped shape tank that slips directly onto a downspout and has a built-in watering can that you can grab whenever your plants are dry. The Raindrop holds 20 gallons, while it’s smaller cousin, the Raindrop Mini (where the watering can is the rain tank) holds just one gallon.
Classic Wood Tanks
Before plastic, metal, and cement tanks were available, people used wood to build water tanks, typically rot-resistant species like redwood and cedar. Today these antiques are rarely seen, though in the redwood country along the California coast it’s not uncommon to spot 100-year old wooden tanks that are still in use. But because they are so breathtakingly beautiful, specialty suppliers have sprung up in recent years to offer new, custom-made wooden tanks.
New wooden tanks are pricey: they typically cost $2 to $3 per gallon of capacity, while modern plastic tanks run about 50 cents per gallon of capacity. If your carpentry skills are up to par, consider building your own—there are plenty of plans available online…
Want to learn more about harvesting rainwater? Check next week’s FREE rainwater harvesting webinar – Click Here for Details!