What are you doing to harvest the rainwater and snow melt from your landscape? If you’re like most homeowners, the answer is, “What? We can harvest that?” Sure you can. Every little bit of water you save from rainwater and snow melt is less water you have to extract from Colorado’s precious groundwater reserves.
Rainwater Harvesting for Landscapes Preserves Colorado’s Water Reserves
Rainwater harvesting is about as simple as it can get. In a nutshell, all you need is a gutter and downspout system large enough to handle the water runoff from your roof, barrels to catch the runoff, and a spigot/hose to get water from the barrels into hoses or irrigation materials that will direct the harvested water to your plants.
Gutters and downspouts. If you have an older home, you may want to refurbish or replace the gutters and downspouts, so they collect every drop they possibly can. For the average roof, gutters need to be at least 5-inches in diameter, and downspouts should have a diameter of at least 3-inches. Larger homes should consider even larger models.
Screens. You will want to place a screen or mesh system at the location where the gutters meet the downspouts to keep the largest leaves, twigs and debris from getting into your barrels. If you get much mosquito action during the warmer months, you’ll want to use finer mesh screens to keep mosquito larvae out of your barrel. Old window screens work perfectly for this.
Barrels with spouts. You can purchase barrels made specifically for collecting water. We have also seen clients recycle full wine barrels for this purpose. If you opt to re-purpose a barrel of some kind, make sure you’ve thoroughly cleaned/treated the interior surfaces, so any residual chemicals won’t leach into the water and into your landscape. You certainly don’t want to negatively impact soil, plant, or animal life. Ideally, barrels will be placed in an area that is close to your targeted irrigation spots. Read more about setting up your barrel system.
Finally, do yourself, and the planet, a favor by implementing a xeriscape.
Working towards a drought-tolerant design, combined with smart rainwater harvesting for your landscape, can mean never spending another penny for municipal water. Wouldn’t that be a treat? Interested in implementing a rainwater harvesting system for your Rocky Mountain landscape? Contact Lifescape Colorado.