Artful Water CatchmentMediterranean Landscape, San Luis Obispo
Surrounded by papyrus, this brightly-colored rain barrel is the finishing touch on a water-wise garden in Grover Beach, CA.
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6. Harvest RainwaterCapturing rainwater can help save water on a small scale. A rain barrel connected to a home’s downspouts allows one to capture the runoff from the roof for use in drier months. In this garden in San Luis Obispo, California, designed by Gabriel Frank, an attractive terra-cotta-colored rain barrel with a handy hose attachment allows for easy water dispensing to use on garden beds in the dry season.Tip: Before you purchase or install a rain barrel, be sure to check local laws. Certain states have issued rainwater-harvesting restrictions.
6. Store rainwater. Rather than diverting water from downspouts into a swale or rain garden, set up a catchment vessel to store excess water for future dry spells. This is particularly useful for gardeners in regions with dry seasons. Hook up a hose to the catchment container, and you’ll be able to use rainwater to irrigate your kitchen garden or perennial beds. Rain barrels come in many shapes and sizes, and can often make attractive additions to the landscape.Watch now: How to Install a Rain Barrel
5. There are numerous environmental benefits. Rainwater storage is the first step at intercepting stormwater runoff. Stored rainwater used to irrigate the garden percolates through the soil, which allows nature to clean the water, as opposed to it running as dirty water directly into local water systems, which degrades water quality and can lead to flooding and erosion downstream. It also takes the stress off aging infrastructure. How does one little barrel make a difference? If more homeowners store and intercept rainwater using barrels, swales and rain gardens, local environments and water quality will improve. It’s a small change that, when replicated by many people, can have a large positive impact.
Go green in the suburbs. Owning your own single-family home does hold a few advantages over living in apartment buildings and condos: You can make more lasting structural changes without asking permission from a co-op or homeowners association. For a quick addition, try using a rainwater collecting system to store water for use in your garden; or for a bigger investment, you could even have solar panels installed on your house.