Rainwater harvesting in an aquatic garden (Slideshow)
Take one body of water, add plants and, perhaps, a koi or two, and you've got the recipe for a beautiful addition to the garden. Aquatic gardens can easily be elevated to an art form to create more wildlife sanctuaries and a sense of movement in the yard.
Add in rainwater harvesting and the water feature also becomes a boost to the environment.
A typical rainwater harvesting pond handles runoff from a driveway, parking lot or roof and it feeds into a plant garden filled with native species. The amount of runoff created from a roof is substantial, depending on the amount of annual rainfall, the type of roof, and where the water is falling. It's an easy calculation using an online worksheet. But even in drier climates, a small roof can easily provide enough runoff the equivalent of what would fill up a swimming pool.
Keep in mind that rainwater is great for irrigating lawns and gardens, but not for drinking or cooking. Think of a water garden as a rain barrel, just larger and more attractive.
The environmental aspects are tremendous. Rainwater harvesting systems lessen storm-related problems such as erosion and basement flooding while reducing the amount of rainwater that dumps into storm sewers, which can be polluted with fertilizer and pesticides. Using rainwater also reduces demand for treated water.
Rainwater is nutritious for plants, because it doesn't have the chlorine or added salts found in treated water.
So, go ahead and improve your garden environment by transforming it into a real backyard oasis with a bubbling water feature. Our slideshow of garden images shows the beauty of a landscaping water feature.
Teena Hammond Teena Hammond has published more than 2,000 articles in People and W magazines, Women's Wear Daily, and in dozens of newspapers and books. She also wrote a home improvement, remodeling and decor column that ran in Gannett newspapers nationwide. She's interested in all things green and would love to hear from you with your story ideas.