Saturday, 2 January 2016

Showering to water the garden

It really took us way too long to figure this one out...

A few weeks back I shot Celliers an idea about channelling the water from the outside drain into the garden. At the back of the house the pipes for the two bathrooms (showers and basins) feed straight into a drain. While we don't have much elevation, it is adequate to let the water spill out onto the lawn.

We first rigged a PVC pipe to the one outlet and had it directing water on to a patch of nearby non-lawn, which had all but died after having a sheet of corrugated iron on top of it. Within days the improvement was visible and soon the rectangle should merge with the surrounding lawn.

We then hit the plumbing store to get angled connectors to hook up the second outlet and to feed a long pipe along the patio.

It must be almost two weeks now that we've had out shower water going onto a patch of lawn that has been dry and crunchy. With the water restrictions we haven't watered at all for weeks and we've got a number of exceptionally dry spots.

We then created a 'reducer' system from pieces from the plumbing and hardware stores to 'reduce' the 50mm diameter of the PVC pipe to a hosepipe connector. The plan is that one night I leave the hose in one part of the garden, the next night in another spot and so on, to feed water to different areas.

I connected up the hose but that didn't work very well because without gradient and pressure the water couldn't get out the narrow hosepipe fast enough and backed up the water in the shower itself.

We've been looking for a wider pipe and have only found a 25mm so far, which is better than the hosepipe but at R33/metre we'll look around more to see if there's a better option. Of course, I could play tetris with 50mm 'y' connectors and two hosepipes...

My current system of having water running down a plank (I move it to different positions to target new areas), which is angled from a brick to the lawn, is a bit rustic, but it is working well.

Last night I rigged up another length of PVC pipe to the existing setup (PVC pipe from the outlets and plank to direct the water) to target a new patch of crunchy lawn. Within a few weeks the lawn should be green throughout the back yard.

I've got a blank canvas for the garden here at my new home in Parys. Back in October I pulled out all the spiky plants that were here to start from scratch. The new plan includes checkerboard paving stones (with grasses and short plants inbetween), raised beds (Celliers built them for me) and a pergola in the corner (with swinging bench - phase 3 of the garden project).

Progress has been slow, mostly because I'm terrified of putting plants into the ground when I can't water them. So a bunch of grasses and plants are still sitting in their bags, all grouped together so that I can water them using the watering can. I've dug in an irrigation system but I'll only be able to use it when our water situation improves. Once I find a hose for the shower-water system I'll be able to feed water to the main bed - then I can put in more plants.

Most of the paving stones are in and I should be able to position the last two of the three raised beds later this afternoon. Once the bed boxes are in I can work out how many more pavers I'll need and get those dug in. I've taken before photos and also as I complete sections. I'll put them all together when I've got something to show.

I have no idea why we didn't do the shower water - drain - PVC pipe thing before; but I'm glad we finally came to our senses.

We don't have veggies yet... that will be phase 6 of the garden! We have monkey visitors here in Parys so the veggie garden needs to be monkey proof. Here are some pics of our regular visitors (taken about two days ago). There are young twins and a smaller only child. Too cute to watch! They come to our front garden at least once a week to eat the acorns from the big oak tree.


Anonymous said...

You can further look into this - - good nutrition for your lawn.

adventurelisa said...

Good one. Celliers pees in the garden regularly, so that helps too. Peeing in the shower would channel nutrient-giving urine onto the lawn. We were talking about this at home recently. I haven't been so keen, but it is a good way to direct fertilizer value to the garden. Thanks for this link. Celliers is certainly going to enjoy this 'I told you so' confirmation.