By Mike Jiggens
May 29, 2015 – One of the hottest trends in sustainable landscaping this season is fusion gardening which uses a series of rainwater collection systems and drought-resistant plants to reduce stress on local water systems and municipal water supplies.
The method of gardening is environmentally-friendly and cost conscious. When designing and building a fusion garden, one of the first things to consider is how to collect the rainwater, and how to get it from the collection basin to a lawn and garden where the water is needed.
“Every time you turn on the tap, you are spending money,” George Micevski, president of Zoeller Canada, said. “Meanwhile, we have water literally falling from the sky that is not just going to waste, but may actually be causing stress on nearby water sources and disrupting natural ecosystems.”
In an increasingly urban North America, many communities are designed to get rid of rainwater as quickly and efficiently as possible. Driveways are paved and sloped away from our properties. Patios, decks and other hardscaped features are designed to push water towards nearby sewers.
In older municipal systems, this rainwater overtaxes wastewater management operations, and could end up causing raw sewage to be flushed into natural watercourses. Newer communities are built with stormwater collection ponds, but the water headed into these could be contaminated with oils and chemicals that spill on driveways or streets. Rainwater from subdivisions can cause streams and rivers to rise unnaturally, disrupting wildlife in the area.
Meanwhile, while rainwater is being whisked away, the sprinkler is turned on to water the lawn or garden. Fusion gardening aims to make better use of that rainwater. The water can be collected via regular downspouts, decorative rain chains or water channels at the bottom of sloped driveways or paths and directed to a holding basin. That basin could be a rain barrel, but is ideally a subterranean container, with a simple sump pump system used to retrieve the water when needed for gardening, and to monitor water levels within the tank.
“Installing a water collection tank in your fusion garden is an investment that will show up on your water bill, and will make a real difference in the environment,” Micevski said. “You can build a garden that is beautiful, resilient, sufficient, and will attract various kinds of wildlife to your garden, including pollinators.”