Water availability for landscaping continues to be a growing concern for areas where water restrictions can inhibit a homeowner’s ability to maintain a traditional landscape. Last month we talked about designing a drought-resistant garden.  Today we’re focusing on collecting rainwater to use for landscaping and possible domestic water applications inside the home.
Though certainly not a new concept—the rain barrel at the corner of the house fulfilled a basic low-tech water storage need—new materials and technology allow for collection of fairly large amounts of water without a lot of investment.

Your home’s roof is an ideal collector—a large flat sloping surface. You’ll need to remove roof debris with either gutter guard systems or a roof washer system. The latter diverts a set amount of roof debris such as leaves or pine needles to a catchment. Once the reservoir is full the remaining water moves directly to storage.

The most intriguing solution of cistern technology is the Original Rainwater Pillow, which can be installed beneath a crawlspace or under a deck in just about any configuration. Unlike structural cisterns, which can be large, involve a fair amount of construction and may cost a lot to ship, these flexible bladders ship flat and are installed easily by fitting and gluing pipes together.  The bladder fills using gravity alone, and have a 10 gallon per minute pump attached to deliver water to a spigot for use.