How to Capture & Re-use Water in Your Garden

The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans use up to 48 gallons of water per day maintaining their lawns and gardens! That's a lot of water, and a lot of money.  And the hard truth is that much of that water is lost to evaporation before it does any good for our plants.

One solution? Capture water that might otherwise go to waste, and divert it into the garden so it benefits our plants.  No matter if your goal is to capture rainwater, or re-use grey water from inside your home, here are some projects that homeowners can DIY!

Re-Use Greywater from Your Washing Machine in Your Garden

This Old House plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey shows how to reuse laundry wastewater.

This Old House created a great guide to connecting your washing machine to your outdoor space so that the water left over after you wash goes to great use! There are also a number of important tips about when to use (and NOT use) this kind of system, what kind of detergent to use, and how to get the most out of the system as a whole.  Click through to see the video on YouTube and you'll find a handy list of tools.

Install a Rainbarrel Drip Irrigation System

Rainbarrels are a great way to capture rainwater, and drip irrigation systems are one of the best ways to deliver water right where its needed, at the plants' roots.  So if you can combine these two things, you end up with an amazing system!  This video, by Grow Your Heirlooms, is a great guide to doing this, and if you visit the YouTube page and look at the video description, they've linked to many of the resources mentioned in the video.

DIY Your Own Rain Chain

Video by Make

Rain chains provide a way to direct rainwater downward, either into a rain garden, or into a rain barrel, or into some other way to utilize or collect the water.  Rain chains can be pricey, though, so this video from Make shows you how to create your own, using re-cycled or re-purposed elements.   I recommend reading the video comments on YouTube too, because they provide some additional ideas and troubleshooting tips.

Learn the Basics of Rain Garden Design

If you're trying to capture rainwater in your yard, or if you want to divert grey water to a specific area of your property, rain gardens are a great option! But they take some planning, and some thoughtful design.  This video, from SustainableWorld, explains the different elements to include in a rain garden and their purpose, as well as appropriate plants. 

Are you conserving water in your garden? Share your ideas and tips in the comments!

Linda KelsoComment