Five rea­sons to add a rain bar­rel to your land­scap­ing

Austin American-Statesman Sunday - - HOMES -

A rain bar­rel is a small, above-ground tank that col­lects and stores rain­wa­ter for later use. There are a few types, but the most com­mon bar­rels col­lect rain­wa­ter from your roof. Adding one or two rain bar­rels to your home can be good for your plants, the planet and your wal­let. It’s an in­ex­pen­sive, prac­ti­cal habit — es­pe­cially in dry Western states where droughts are more com­mon.

Here are five rea­sons to put a rain bar­rel in your yard.

1. Rain­wa­ter has many uses.

Nat­u­ral rain­wa­ter is loaded with oxy­gen and nu­tri­ents, mak­ing it great for wa­ter­ing plants. Rain­wa­ter col­lected from roofs — ex­cept for cop­per roofs and those treated to pre­vent moss and al­gae growth — is free from chlo­rine, am­mo­nia and other chem­i­cals con­tained in tap wa­ter that can ac­cu­mu­late in the soil over time. Rain­wa­ter di­lutes the im­pact of these chem­i­cals, mak­ing plants health­ier and more drought-tol­er­ant. Rain­wa­ter also con­tains good bac­te­ria and micro­organ­isms that the soil needs to keep plants healthy.

Rain­wa­ter has many uses aside from wa­ter­ing plants. It doesn’t have the salt and chem­i­cals found in tap wa­ter, mak­ing it per­fect for wash­ing your car or fill­ing a bird bath (birds love fresh rain­wa­ter). The rain bar­rel it­self can dou­ble as a trel­lis, block an un­sightly view or even pro­vide pas­sive so­lar heat if you in­stall a sys­tem and find the right size, color and lo­ca­tion on your lawn.

2. It saves wa­ter and money.

Wa­ter-in­ten­sive land­scapes and green lawns cost a lot of money. In dry cli­mates and dur­ing the sum­mer, home­own­ers can use as much as two to four times more wa­ter than usual, ac­cord­ing to the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency. A rain bar­rel’s “wa­ter catch” can col­lect 1,300 gal­lons of wa­ter dur­ing the grow­ing sea­son. And ir­ri­gat­ing with rain­wa­ter could re­duce your wa­ter bill by 30 per­cent or more.

One inch of rain­fall on a 1,000-square-foot roof yields over 600 gal­lons of wa­ter. Even in dry ar­eas, less than an inch of rain can fill a rain bar­rel. Cut­ting back on wa­ter use for your lawn and gar­den not only re­duces your wa­ter foot­print, but it can also re­duce your wa­ter bill.

3. Wa­ter re­stric­tions don’t ap­ply.

If you col­lect rain­wa­ter, you’ll be able to keep wa­ter­ing and nour­ish­ing your gar­den all sum­mer long, even when wa­ter ad­vi­sories are put in place to limit res­i­den­tial wa­ter us­age.

4. It helps pro­tect your home from wa­ter dam­age.

Rain­wa­ter from a big storm can flood your base­ment or cre­ate a build-up of mois­ture next to your foun­da­tion, lead­ing to damp patches and mold. Rain bar­rels help pre­vent these po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous prob­lems by pro­tect­ing the al­ready-sat­u­rated ground from ex­cess wa­ter.

5. It’s help­ful to your lo­cal wa­ter treat­ment fa­cil­ity.

Ur­ban ar­eas cov­ered with con­crete, tar­mac and build­ings cre­ate runoff dur­ing heavy storms, which can carry pol­lu­tants into wa­ter­ways. Col­lect­ing rain­wa­ter can re­duce the amount of runoff and pre­vent some of that pol­lu­tion from reach­ing wa­ter­ways near you.

Ad­di­tion­ally, runoff from rainy and snowy weather can cause flood­ing down­stream and over­flow at sewage treat­ment plants. Col­lect­ing the rain­wa­ter that lands on your roof might seem like a small ef­fort, but it helps min­i­mize flood­ing and leaks fur­ther down­stream. If you don’t need a full rain bar­rel to care for your lawn and gar­den or other ac­tiv­i­ties, you can slowly re­lease ex­cess in be­tween storms. This al­lows the wa­ter to soak into the ground in­stead of run­ning into storm sew­ers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.