Living in the UK, we are all used to rain. But what if we told you there are actually many benefits to collecting rainwater in your garden with a water collection tank?
You can do this by using a water collection tank, or water butt. Water butts work by catching water in a drainpipe when it rains and sending it down to collect in a tank. You can then use this water on your lawn and plants for healthier growth. Water tanks are available from gardening retailers and have some surprising benefits for your lawn.
Why have a water butt/water collection tank?
Your lawn, and any plants you own, be they indoor or outdoor, need water to survive. And whilst there’s nothing wrong with using tap water, rainwater is much healthier. Tap-water is processed at a water treatment plant to make it safer for us humans to drink and bathe in. This includes adding minerals like chlorine to prevent bacterial growth inside the pipes. Whilst fine for us to ingest, chlorine and other minerals and salts have a negative effect on plant growth. This is because they reduce the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients from the soil. In contrast, rainwater has healthy nutrients, a slightly acidic pH and a more natural temperature, which is preferable to all plants.
- On average, outside water can account for 7% of your water bill, and even more in summer. So, using a water butt can help keep the cost of your water bill down
- It is better for the environment and your plants
- You can water your plants even during a hosepipe ban
As well as all their benefits, water butts do come with a couple of potential hazards that you should be aware of. Though they may seem scary, these things are manageable if you take the right precautions.
Legionella is a dangerous bacterium that can have serious consequences when inhaled. This is likely if you’re spraying water from a hosepipe using in hot weather. This is because legionella multiplies in stagnant water above 20°C. So, you want to avoid the water in your butt rising above 20°C. Where possible, leave it under shade in warmer weather, or use a reflective cover to keep heat out. You could also avoid using a hosepipe with your water butt, and opt for the safer option of a watering can.
Being bad swimmers, mosquitos like to spend their time on stagnant water. Unfortunately, this is exactly the condition water in your water butt will be in. Making it a potential breeding ground for these blood-sucking pests. Luckily, a secure and well-fastened lid will do the trick to keep your water butt a mosquito-free zone. If you find mosquitos in your water butt, Envii advises mixing a small amount of olive oil and water and spraying it across the water. This creates a thin film on the water’s surface and kills off any mosquito larvae.
Installing your water collection tank
When it comes to finding a good water collection tank you’re spoiled for choice. They are available for as little as £30, and come in many different sizes and styles, so you can find one that best fits your need. Or, to really reduce your carbon footprint, you could build your own out of a barrel or recycled plastic. Once you have a water butt, the installation method is simple. Cut off the drainpipe from your gutter system and place the water butt below to catch the water.
You could also install a rainwater diverter. These can be purchased to fit onto your drainpipe, so make sure you buy the right one. To set up a water butt with a diverter:
- Place your water butt on its stand next to the downpipe
- Mark the height of the top of the butt on the pipe
- Use a hacksaw to cut the downpipe 3cm from your mark
- Attach the rainwater diverter to the downpipe at the point where you cut it off
- Drill 8cm down from the top of the water butt (needs to be large enough for the supplied pipe to fit through
- Connect the supplied pipe that comes with the water butt to the rainwater diverter
- Fit the lid onto the water butt and wait for the heavens to open, hey presto you have free water
Proper lawn care requires the right care and attention. So, make sure your lawn is getting the best possible treatment by investing in a water butt today. And for the best possible care year-round, you can count on TruGreen professional lawn care. To learn more about our services, and book your free 14-point lawn analysis with our lawn care experts, find your local TruGreen business here.