Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Beautiful Ways to Save the Rain

Rainy days are great for sitting around dreaming and wishing. What I’m wishing for right now is a better way to capture all of this rain water that is getting away from me.

Sure, we have rain barrels at our house, so I can take a little bit of “green” pride in the fact that I’m saving a couple hundred gallons of water, and using the overflow tubes to direct water to the places that I want it in the garden. But there are still thousands of gallons that are just washing away.

So I decided to use these rainy days to look into some other options for capturing rain water.

The coolest thing that I have found, and something I definitely want to learn more about, is the Aquascape RainXchange Rainwater Harvesting system. Basically, these systems divert the rainwater, store it underground, and “reveal” it on the surface through either a fountain or pond.

Some of the benefits of these systems, from the Aquascape website, are:.
  • Clean, Filtered Water Collection & Storage - While you enjoy the benefits of a decorative water feature, the RainXchange™ Rainwater Harvesting System filters the stored water to prevent stagnation and growth of unhealthy bacteria.
  • The RainXchange™ Rainwater Harvesting System reveals only a beautiful water feature that integrates easily into existing landscape.
  • Collecting and storing the water underground maintains the integrity and beauty of your home and landscape.
  • Wildlife Habitat - Because the water stored in the RainXchange™ System is constantly moving and being aerated, it becomes a sanctuary for wildlife.
  • Water Feature Lifestyle - Enhanced landscaping improves property value and water features provide soothing sights and sounds that help you relax and de-stress in today’s busy world.
  • Environmental Conservation - Capturing rainwater to operate the water feature creates true self-sustainability, drastically reducing the need for chemically-treated traditional water sources.
I used the Aquascape website to find a Certified Aquascape Contractor in the area and Tom Hunt, of Green Earth Landscaping, LLC was happy to allow me to share some of the photos of rainwater harvesting systems he has on his website. Hunt told me that they have installed three of these systems in the area: 500, 1000 and 2000 gallons. Hunt has been in the landscaping business in the area for 20 years.  

According to their website, rainwater harvesting is one of Green Earth Landscaping's specialities, and they definitely seem to know the importance that harvesting rainwater can play for our local environment.

“Capturing rainwater decreases the high demand for municipal water while providing homeowners with a beautiful and sustainable way to manage stormwater runoff," Hunt said. " And studies show that plants watered with rainwater are healthier and grow better than plants watered with municipal water.”

The RainXchange systems all seem to work on the same principle. They capture the rain water and store it underground in modular aquablocks. The rainwater can then be used to flow through a fountain or to help
maintain a garden pond.

In this case, a picture is really worth a thousand words. Green Earth Landscaping, LLCs website has some fantastic photos of RainXchange projects to let you see just how beautiful these projects can be. And it looks like they also do rain barrels, rain gardens and pervious pavers.

If you are looking for something to do while the rains are keeping you indoors, I encourage you to check them out. (There are also several other Certified Aquascape Contractors in the area). And keep in mind that there are many local incentive programs that may help you pay for your rain harvesting system, whether it is a rain barrel, rain garden or RainXchange system. Leah Lemoine, Environmental Protection Specialist for the District Department of the Environment told me that they have even more rebates in the works - up to $500 for rain gardens and dry wells.

For information about rebate programs for rain barrels, rain gardens, etc: How to Earn Green by Going Green

More information from this blog:

The Rain Barrel Response

The Benefits of Permeable Surfaces are Starting to Soak In      

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