Rain Harvesting – Part 3

Harvesting Systems into Gardens

While through most of the year, outdoor water use accounts for just 7% of the total water we use, in the summer this rises dramatically to over 50% at peak times, according to Waterwise.

One rather unusual option would be follow the lead of former architectural technologist Jonathan McGee. His home looks, from the outside, like any other terraced house in a quiet corner of north Leeds. But this particular property, with its blooming flower beds, manicured front lawn and Victorian replica hand pump, is actually at the heart of a new revolution in rainwater harvesting technology. Because beneath the surface of that beautiful looking lawn is an underground tank full of self-cleaning rainwater – and the grass isn’t grass, either: it’s effectively a water filter, made from AstroTurf.

“Our garden is very small, and it used to get waterlogged and overgrown, because I couldn’t bring myself to buy a lawnmower just to mow a section of grass measuring 16 sq ft,” says the property’s owner, Jonathan McGee. “My wife, Jessica, and I wanted a nice, pretty garden that would allow us to water our flower beds without dragging a hosepipe round from the back or carrying water buckets through the front. So I started googling AstroTurf lawns and rainwater harvesting systems. ”

The solution that he discovered is an innovative type of rainwater harvesting tank, developed by AstroTurf supplier Bradleys Surfacing Systems, that now sits just 10cm before the surface of McGee’s AstroTurf lawn. Unlike a traditional rainwater harvesting system that, because it captures rainwater from the roof, needs to be plumbed into the guttering and downpipes, the Bradleys system captures rainwater from the lawn itself, and the blades of “grass” act as filters to trap the dirt.

About the author: Joe Fiorilli