Rainwater Harvesting: When It Rains, It Stores

Thanks to a revolutionary design from Aquascape Inc., today you can combine a recirculating decorative water feature (humble or grand) with a sub-surface rainwater harvesting collection system. This collected water can be used at your residence and/or business for jobs that don’t require treated water: washing vehicles, watering a lawn, spraying down a deck, or nourishing a garden.
The Deck and Patio Company — through its Rainwater Harvesting Group — specializes in these Aquascape’s RainXchange systems. Recently, we’ve been at work in Brooklyn, New York, where a very tight city backyard is barely 25’x 12’.
“The clients have a four-story walk-up,” says our Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter. “They wanted to collect all the water that comes off their roof.”
In addition to the obvious “green” aspects, the clients were keen to take advantage of certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) program. According to the Council, certification may allow property owners to “qualify for a host of incentives like tax rebates and zoning allowances. Not to mention they retain higher property values.”
Renter adds that rainwater harvesting also reduces energy and water bills, sometimes by as much as 40%. LEED points can accrue from reducing municipal water requirements, by using locally-sourced materials that reduce transportation costs, and from reusing old bricks or materials, etc.
The following photos and video show The Deck and Patio Company hard at work at this Brooklyn project; we’ve also included two photos that showcase how beautiful a completed water harvesting job can look.
Small Backyards
In addition to the the RainXchange system, these clients wanted a small built-in barbecue; they have a vegetable garden and we planted drought-tolerant xeriscape plants across from it.
Installing Rainwater Harvesting Reservoir
Water will come off their Brooklyn 4-story roof and collect in a 500-gallon underground rainwater harvesting reservoir. When it’s full, water flows into an overflow regeneration zone where it can perk slowly back into the ground.
Private Water Systems
Previously, any excess water from rainfalls etc. ran off into the New York City sewer system; now, because rain water and any overflow will be collected, stored, and controlled, the water for plants and vegetables is completely disconnected from the city sewer system.
Small Yard Renovations
We had to dig a hole 4’ x 6’ and 3’ deep to install the underground 500-gallon reservoir. This required digging out soil and filling 5-gallon buckets that our team carried one at a time down to the basement, up stairs, and out to a dump truck in front of the house.
Rainwater Harvesting Components
We used all Aquascape Inc. products, e.g: an underlayment to absorb roughness and prevent rocks and roots from puncturing equipment; AquaBlox (plastic matrix modular system for water storage and filtration), submersible pump to operate the water feature (bubbling rock) rock, etc.
Aerating Water Feature
We drilled a hole through a rock to create a bubbling rock feature; water bubbles up and then goes back down; having a connecting water feature allows the water to be continually aerated, thereby helping to purify the water.
Pondless Waterfall
The “pondless" waterfall we installed some time ago for these clients collects the waterfall’s falling water in an underground tank with a pump that circulates and helps keep the water for this feature pure.
Multi-faceted Water Feature
This more ambitious water feature by Deck and Patio includes a stream, and multiple waterfalls — all recirculated through the same RainXchange water collection system. City water is not used.
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