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  • Writer's pictureJeff Robbins

What is the best way to harvest rainwater from my roof?

With the recent arrival of El Nino storms many folks are wondering how they can capture and use the long awaited rains we are getting now.  There are two main ways that you can capture rainwater in your yard.  The first method involves installing rain barrels or tanks that store water coming off the roof.  This water can then be used later to hand water or can be connected to a pump to supply landscape irrigation.  The second way to capture rainwater is by diverting roof drains into a rain garden, dry-river bed, or bio-swale where the water can slowly percolate into your soil.  Both methods have advantages and drawbacks and in some cases the two strategies may be combined for maximum benefit.  To help you contemplate which approach or combinations might be best for your yard we put together this comparison:

Rain Barrel/Tank Storage


-Rebates are available for certain systems

-Water can be stored and used for later

-Water is free of chlorine and salts commonly found in tap water which are not good for plants


-Large tanks can be expensive

-Tanks fill up relatively quickly and then overflow

-It is generally not possible to harvest enough water to supply all your landscape needs through the dry season

-Eventually tanks will need to be replaced

-Large harvesting tanks take up space and have an industrial aesthetic that may not complement your home or landscape

Rain Garden/Bio-Swales


-Does not require any special or manufactured materials

-Can be an attractive feature of a landscape

-Easier to accommodate large quantities of water

-Provide deep watering that can benefit deep rooted shrubs and trees

-Gets better with age as plants fill in and grow


-Can be difficult to implement on sites where the structure is at a low point or is surrounded by hardscape

-Water is not stored for later use

If you are interested in capturing rain on your property but need help deciding which system is right for you, contact Revolution Landscape today!


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