Harvesting and Directing Rainwater From Your Garden Building

If you have placed, or plan to place, a garden building on your property, there are many ways that it can be beneficial to you, and to the wider systems of your garden. One key thing that a garden building can provide that you may have overlooked is a surface for the collection of rainwater in your garden. 

If you are trying to live, and garden, in an eco-friendly and sustainable way, then you may well already be collecting rainwater from the roof of your home. You might be collecting water in rainwater barrels or butts. A garden building provides a rainwater harvesting point at the other end of your garden. And that water can be directed in a range of different ways. 

How To Harvest Rainwater From a Garden Building

Harvesting rainwater from the roof of a summer house or other garden building is exactly the same as harvesting rainwater from the roof of your home. It involves tapping into existing guttering (or erecting guttering if it is not yet in place). Water from roofs will often go down a downspout and into drains, which will carry the water away through underground drainage – often into municipal drainage systems. But as you may already be aware – it is far better to keep that water around. 

Why Harvest Rainwater From a Garden Building?

Harvesting rainwater is important. Even in areas where rainwater does not seem to be in short supply, we need to remember that freshwater is a precious resource. By keeping it on our properties, we can reduce or eliminate the use of freshwater from mains supplies in watering our plants. And we can prevent problems further downstream by catching and storing water on our properties. Catching the water from the roof of a garden building can also make it easier for us as gardeners since that rainwater can be directed to benefit us in several different ways. 

Directing Rainwater From a Garden Building

The water that you collect from the roof of a garden building can be directed, most simply, to rainwater barrels or butts at the base of the downspout. But it is also interesting to consider the other options when it comes to directing rainwater from a garden building.

For example, rainwater that you collect from a garden building can be sent to:

  • Drainage channels, which lead to a rain garden. (A rain garden is a basin of loose and moisture-retentive soil, planted up with appropriate plants. The rain garden is a natural filtration system, which prevents runoff and allows the water collected to be slowly absorbed into the soil and plants in your garden.)
  • Drainage channels which lead to a wildlife pond. (A wildlife pond is not only an attractive garden feature. It can also help you as a gardener because it is great for bringing in wildlife, and that wildlife can help you in many ways in your garden – from pollination to pest control.)
  • The reservoirs are at the base of wicking beds. (Self-watering beds with water reservoirs in the base which can be water-wise options for home growing – especially in drier areas.)
  • A hydroponic or aquaponic system. (In which plants are grown in water rather than soil or another growing medium. Perhaps using fish for fertility within the system.)

These are just some of the many ways that you could direct the water from the roof of your garden building to enhance your garden. There are other options to consider but these ideas could be a good place to start.

By thinking about these things you can make sure your garden building works to the benefit of the whole and works holistically within the garden system. 

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