Saving water (and money) is easy with a residential rainwater harvesting system. Rainwater is great for watering all gardens and plants, including edible ones. The two most common home rainwater harvesting systems are rain barrels and cisterns. Rain barrels are easy to install and use and do not require any type of permit. Large cistern systems that hold more than 100 gallons and involve pumps will warrant the help of a professional to obtain the proper permits.

A rain barrel catchment system works by collecting water from the roof into a barrel that you can then access for irrigation purposes. It is a simple method for conserving water that can still make a huge difference. Every 1,000 square feet of roof can collect nearly 600 gallons after only one inch of rain.

Rain barrels should be positioned on a firm, level surface and aligned with gutter downspouts. Mesh screens are typically used on gutters and on barrel openings to prevent mosquitoes, debris, and other elements from entering rainwater supplies. Barrels are usually designed with spouts or faucets for attaching hoses.

Homeowners who plan to use a harvesting system to water edible gardens can consider a first-flush device for their barrel. This device redirects the first inch of rain which may have contaminants to ensure you are collecting only the cleanest rainwater.

To supplement rain barrel harvesting systems, landscapes can also be designed in a way where plants are strategically placed to make the most of rainfall and prevent runoff.

When you harvest rainwater, you’ll be able to take pride in the fact that you are doing your part to serve the environment. Harvesting rainwater reduces the need for water transport systems, which take a toll on water cycles and local environments. Unfortunately, most of today’s water infrastructures are problematic in this way. Reducing your domestic water use can bring your household and your city towards greater sustainability.

TMS Architects would love to help you become more sustainable with landscape and home designs that are beautiful, functional, and eco-friendly. Contact us to learn more about our full-service design and architecture firm.