Rainwater Harvesting

/Rainwater Harvesting

Future Trends: Sustainable Water Features May Soon Capture Sunlight As Well As Rainwater

Sustainable Water Features

Sustainable Water Features

Deck and Patio has long specialized in creating serene water features in an eco-friendly way. Such features not only add beauty and enhance a property’s landscaping, but when rainwater harvesting systems are also part of the design, homeowners’ water bills are greatly reduced. Also, because water doesn’t leave the property, fewer pollutants get into area waterways.

Deck and Patio is expert at capturing rainwater from both roofs and permeable paver patios and walkways. “However, we are always on the lookout for better ways to do things,” says Bill Renter of Deck and Patio. “This means staying on top of the latest technologies and trends in all aspects of water feature technology.”

Infinity Pond

Infinity Pond

One cutting edge sustainable water feature we created (left) is a beautiful multi-faceted ‘infinity’ pond our team built on Long Island.  “It is one of the first infinity ponds done in North America,” adds Renter. “The project included a stream, waterfalls, a second lower pond, and a natural biological filtration system that is continuously maintaining the feature’s crystal-clear water.”

To create healthy as well as beautiful water feature systems, Deck and Patio uses natural stones and biological filtration systems, including special plants. Yet, there is one eco-friendly solution that has eluded Renter and Deck and Patio’s owner, Dave Stockwell.

“For water features and any stored rainwater to remain healthy, the water must be aerated and moved,” says Stockwell. “This has meant adding pumps, and pumps require the use of electricity — almost always from non-renewable sources. This has been true for swimming pools as well as ponds, waterfalls, etc.”

That, however, may be about to change.

 

Solar Roadways' Solar Pavers

Solar Roadways’ Solar Pavers

One entrepreneurial American couple, Scott and Julie Brusaw, founders of the company Solar Roadways, with a view to creating national energy independence, are already testing modular hexagonal solar pavers that can be walked and even driven upon. One of their two test projects is sponsored by the state of Missouri’s highway department and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

“We were thrilled to learn recently that Solar Roadways’ paver technology is being developed — and in some places is already being tested,” adds Renter. “These new pavers trap sunlight much the way solar panels do on roofs with special circuitry to produce electricity.”

Of course, these solar pavers are made with significantly more durable materials than roof solar panels in order to allow for heavy traffic. This means that Deck and Patio will be able to install self-sustained water features without the need for electricity as well as municipal water.

“In addition, these revolutionary solar pavers will offer heating options that melt snow and ice, making them a great addition to home driveways and public highways in winter,” says Dave Stockwell. “The pavers also include LED lights for lighting the areas.”

 

Testing Solar Pavers in the Netherlands

Testing Solar Pavers in the Netherlands

The promise of these pavers to generate a good amount of electricity seems genuine. Indeed, testing of similar solar pavers by a European manufacturer is being done to great success right now in a village northwest of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

“We hope to experiment with these new pavers right here in Huntington Station in the not too distant future,” adds Bill Renter.

 

 

Artist's Rendition of Solar Highway

Artist’s Rendition of Solar Highway:

According to Laurel A. McKean, Missouri Department of Transportation, the U.S. company, Solar Roadways, has developed two different glass panels to be tested. One is for highway/roadway installations and one specifically for pedestrian use. The latter has an additive that provides better traction. It’s been briefly tested for bare feet and if other tests confirm this, it could be used in a variety of ways on a home property.

 

Sustainable Water Feature at Huntington Train Station

Sustainable Water Feature at Huntington Train Station:

In cooperation with the Town of Huntington (Long Island), Deck and Patio added a serene water feature and a paver pathway at the area train station parking lot. Permeable pavers by Techo-Bloc were put over gravel and a rubber liner which filter the rainwater runoff before it reaches the reservoir we installed at the end of the stream.

“There is enough captured water at this train station water feature to not only sustain itself, but to also irrigate all the plantings,” says Bill Renter. “Plus, this eco-friendly system keeps any non-filtered rainwater from going into the Town’s sewer system and on into Huntington Bay. At present, the system is aerated through the use of electrical pumps. We are hoping when the testing is complete for solar pavers in the United States that we can add these pavers to projects like this one and make them 100 percent eco-friendly.”

 

 

Coming ‘Back Down to Earth’ for Earth Day 2016

Earth Day is once again upon us. And isn’t it heartening that so many countries and citizens around the world will be considering the needs of our planet at the same time? One of the special celebrations taking place this year on Earth Day (April 22)  is the signing ceremony for the international Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which many agree is a step in the right direction for safeguarding our shared home.

But Earth Day is also celebrated each and every day  — a ‘coming back down to earth’ so to speak — where individuals and communities regularly act in useful and practical ways to nourish their own corners of Mother Earth. Some are diligent about recycling, others capture rainwater for irrigation, still others install solar panels, or use organic fertilizers.

For Deck and Patio, protecting the earth is a priority as we create beautiful outdoor living spaces. Indeed, we specialize in helping clients design/build outdoor amenities that are as eco-friendly as they are enchanting. In some cases, these not only do no harm to the local environment, but the projects actually help to improve it.

Aquascape RainXchange Reservoirs

As Certified Aquascape Contractors, Deck and Patio strives not to only make serene water features look natural, but also be natural. One way we do this is by using an Aquascape RainXchange reservoir. The reservoir, which stores water underground to be recirculated, can be used as part of a “pond-less” water feature system. Instead of falling into a pond, the flow from waterfalls and streams seemingly disappears into gravel, where it is filtered, and eventually recirculated. (Examples: see first two photos below)

 

Pristine Water Features:

Pristine Water Features:

This “pond-less” waterfall and stream was installed with all Aquascape Inc. components, so it is eco-friendly: the water is kept clean and healthy without the use of any chemicals.

 

Eco-Friendly Water Features:

Eco-Friendly Water Features:

For this “pond-less” waterfall and stream, the water required to keep it topped off and refreshed is harvested from the roof of the clients’ house. “Such a water feature is run entirely without using city water,” says Dave Stockwell, owner of Deck and Patio. “It acts as a ‘green’ maintenance-free source that operates daily March through December. “And any excess harvested rainwater can be used for irrigation of the property.”

Environmentally-Friendly Backyard Ponds

Backyard ponds with waterfalls and streams can also be created in eco-friendly ways so they not only do no harm, but also help improve the environment. Fish ponds, for example, naturally attract — and provide a haven for — other wildlife that children (as well as adults) love: frogs, salamanders, song birds, etc.

Of course, all these creatures are delightful to watch and listen to. More than that, their presence offer natural ways to a healthier environment. Frogs eat algae in the water which contributes to keeping the water clean; adult toads aid in controlling insects, as do the birds the water attracts; and the koi, which are so much fun to feed, eat any mosquito larva that might develop.

 

Healthy Pond Eco-Systems:

Healthy Pond Eco-Systems:

It is essential to choose the right stones and gravel (which provide the correct ph value for fish and plants), in order to keep a pond healthy in a natural way. For this project, we also planted a beautiful Japanese maple that shades the pondscape’s bridge; bright red geraniums add a strong burst of color (bottom right of photo.)

 

 

Public Sustainable Water Feature:

Public Sustainable Water Feature:

Not all sustainable water feature projects are for private use. Deck and Patio created this stream and waterfall spot in cooperation with the Town of Huntington (Long Island) where we installed it with a paver pathway at the area train station parking lot. The pathway is made of permeable pavers by Techo-Bloc, which were put over gravel and a rubber liner, which capture and filter the path’s rainwater runoff before it reaches the underground Aquascape Inc. reservoir installed at the end of the stream.

 

 

Public Sustainable Water Feature:

Public Sustainable Water Feature:

There is enough captured water at this train station water feature to not only sustain itself, but to also irrigate all the plantings around the water feature. Plus, this eco-friendly system keeps any non-filtered rainwater from going into the Town’s sewer system and on into beautiful Huntington Bay.

 

 

Day 2016 coincides with the signing ceremony for the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Photo from WMO.

Day 2016 coincides with the signing ceremony for the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Photo from WMO.

 

This is the second of a two-part series in honor of Earth Day 2016 (April 22nd). 

 

 

Patios and Other Hardscape Designs: Paving the Way to Harmony

New patios, driveways and pool surrounds often come about when refurbishment is needed, e.g., when age has deteriorated an existing hardscape, or after a storm, and when some new outdoor amenity such as a pool, pond, or entertaining space demands it.

Done properly, outdoor hardscapes are more than serviceable — they can be an essential element in ensuring that the residence and property remain one harmonious whole.

To accomplish this requires choosing the new hardscape’s ideal hue, texture and pattern so it complements the exterior of your residence and other outdoor spaces, designed in a way perfect for the amount of property space involved and the use it will have. For a truly welcoming entrance, for example, driveways constructed in the right paving stones can offer inviting warmth and distinction. In backyards, the right patio material can feel like an extension of its surroundings.

 

 

If comparing the many different landscaping materials available seems daunting —  indeed, viewing online photos can distort color and texture — Deck and Patio has addressed this by creating an outdoor display at our design center, so visitors can see many of the available materials close-up.

When visiting our outdoor display, they can walk-on them, and even touch various patio materials to get a proper sense of how a finished hardscape will look in natural light. Plus, if desired, our staff can explain the different benefits of each one — be it bluestone, brick, concrete pavers, permeable pavers, Travertine, etc.

 

 

 

Paving Stone Driveway:

Paving Stone Driveway:

Deck and Patio’s design team was brought in during the early stages of planning and construction of this home and its many hardscapes. Working with the architect and homeowners, in front, our design team created a driveway in earth-tone concrete tumbled pavers that appear as an extension of the geometric patters and hues of the home’s Glen Gary brick.

 

 

Backyard Oasis:

Backyard Oasis:

For the back of the same residence (photo above), we used a 3-D animation program to help the clients see how their backyard oasis would appear. Techo-Bloc pavers (Elena) in a multi-level terracing design were chosen to perfectly harmonize with the back of the home’s architecture, help the space appear larger, and offer elegant surroundings to the freeform pool, the cascading waterfall, meandering stream with its own sheet-falling waterfall and spillway from the spa into the pool.

 

 

Permeable Pavers:

Permeable Pavers:

Because these Brooklyn clients wanted to collect rainwater for irrigation, they opted for permeable pavers. Voids between the pavers are filled with crushed stone; when rain passes through the pavers’ joint spaces, it flows down into an underneath layer of bluestone gravel and about an inch of crushed stone which filters the water.

 

 

Cambridge Paving Stones:

Cambridge Paving Stones:

We surrounded this vinyl-lined pool and spill-over spa in handsome Cambridge Pavingstones, with artful cut-outs for plantings. The beautiful hue of the pool water caused by its vinyl liner, set against the pavers, with a huge backdrop of lush green grass create a very special setting. In addition, the hardscape was designed to be in perfect harmony with the shape of the pool.

 

 

Pool Surrounds:

Pool Surrounds:

Handsome Cambridge Ledgestone XL “Toffee Onyx Light” pavers (Sherwood Collection) were chosen as a patio/pool surround for this yard. The pavers come in 3-piece design kits for a beautiful random design. The color of the pavers nicely pick up both the pool water while simultaneously suggesting beach sand for a beautiful natural appearance.

 

 

Freeform Hardscapes:

Freeform Hardscapes:

Freeform pools are popular because they meander along with the landscape in a natural way; here we designed the Techo-Bloc patio in “freeform” design as well, and added a stacked stone wall for dramatic outline and extra seating when entertaining.

 

 

ravertine Patios:

Travertine Patios:

Travertine is a gorgeous natural stone that can make a beautiful patio. Here the Travertine surrounds a 50-foot-long pool, 800-square-foot pool house, an outdoor kitchen with natural stone facade, and an outdoor shower. Note: Although Travertine has traditionally been used indoors in colder climates, more and more it is being used outdoors. Be careful, however, from where the stone is quarried. You want Travertine from Italy, Mexico or Turkey, not China, which doesn’t hold up in the freeze/thaw conditions of the Northeast.

 

 

 

Rainwater Harvesting Incentive Programs: Savings From a Rainy Day

Because water is so important to our every day lives, improving and maintaining water quality is our passion at Deck and Patio. In fact, we have a special division — Rainwater Harvesting Group — dedicated to installing rainwater collection systems that alleviate demand on municipal systems, reduce water bills and beautify and enhance landscaping and properties.

In addition to saving on water bills, fortunate residents in other parts of the United States, who have installed rainwater harvesting collection systems (alas not New York as of this writing), can take advantage of state and/or local rebates — the amount of the rebate being frequently determined by the type and size of the harvesting system installed (i.e., barrel collection or pump driven).

One city — Austin, TX — has an excellent rebate program. Granted, Texas has suffered through five straight years of droughts until last year’s spring rains were finally sufficient, so saving rainwater there is a high priority. However, other areas in the country, not so plagued by droughts, offer similar water rebates through their own state and local initiatives.

To find out how such programs might benefit Long Island, we spoke with Nick Menchyk, Assistant Professor (Urban Horticulture & Design) at SUNY Farmingdale.

“On the east coast, we typically get plenty of rain. However, any time we can harvest and use rainwater for irrigating our landscape — as opposed to pulling it from our aquifers — is going to be beneficial. Where government programs around the country exist, these programs have worked very well, and we should look at this at the local level here on Long Island,” says Professor Menchyk.

He adds that in California, for example, they offered rebates to remove turfgrass in favor of drought tolerant landscapes and that state funding ran out of money because so many people jumped at it.

“So any time you can encourage people to use that rain barrel or an in-ground system to collect rainwater is bound to be effective.”

While he does not consider himself an expert in rainwater harvesting and rain gardens, Professor Menchyk is convinced that it’s only a matter of time when the greater eastern seaboard will be looking to how we irrigate, as well as which plants work well in droughts and in rain gardens.

“Whether we like it or not, the future holds limitations in the amount of water we use. Rainwater harvesting is a way we can be responsible stewards of our environment now. We have such a unique area on Long Island. Along the coast, we are less than 11 feet from ground water. Any way we can capture water from impervious parts of our landscapes — and prevent it from leaving our property — is going to reduce the number of pollutants and nutrients getting into our lakes, streams, oceans and potentially into the ground water.”

A special thanks to Professor Menchyk. As an additional note: While harvesting rainwater is not a new idea, rebates for installing such systems are still very new. Deck and Patio’s research shows that only the following states, either through state or local municipalities, offer incentives for rainwater harvesting at this time: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington. and Washington D.C.

 

Capturing Rainwater Runoff:

Capturing Rainwater Runoff:

The average homeowner uses about 3,000 gallons of water a week, 70% of which is for irrigation — or water that doesn’t need to be treated. For this project, four downspouts collects about three quarters of the clients’ roof runoff, which goes through containers with filters to screen out twigs and small debris before sending the rainwater down into the reservoir for reuse in irrigation and to top off a backyard pond when needed.

 

 

Healthy Eco-Systems:

Healthy Eco-Systems:

Deck and Patio frequently uses rainwater harvesting as part of a complete, self-sustaining eco-system. This water feature includes a stream and multiple waterfalls — all recirculated through the same Aquascape RainXchange water collection system. City water is not used. The feature attracts desirable wildlife such as frogs, butterflies, birds etc. creating a delightful wildlife refuge.

 

 

Rainwater Harvesting at Huntington Railroad Station:

Rainwater Harvesting at Huntington Railroad Station:

Here is a great example of government and business working hand-in-hand to beautify the landscape while capturing rainwater for irrigation. Where once was only a dirt path from the sidewalk to the train parking lot, permeable pavers allow easy walking (arrow area pavers) while capturing and filtering rainwater for reuse. The pavers used are Techo-Bloc Victorien Permeable Pavers.

 

 

Water Features:

Water Features:

All rainwater harvesting systems need some way to aerate the water. In this case, a beautiful water feature with waterfalls provides this service. The waterfall aerates the water — or oxygenates it — and the right water plants will absorb nutrients and pollutants  to help purify the water. All together, the gravel, under-ground liner, and plants create a self-sustaining rainwater harvesting garden. The area is a magnet for local birds who come to bathe and drink.

 

 

US Green LEED Grants:

US Green LEED Grants:

These Brooklyn clients have a four-story walk-up and they wanted to collect all the water that comes off their roof. In addition to the obvious “green” aspects, they hoped to take advantage of certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) program. According to the Council, certification may allow property owners to qualify for a host of incentives like tax rebates and zoning allowances. Not to mention they retain higher property values.

 

 

Rainwater Harvesting for Eco-Friendly Irrigation

 

 

Rainwater will not soak into asphalt or concrete.

Rainwater will not soak into asphalt or concrete.

Did you know that according to statistics the “average” homeowner uses approximately 3,000 gallons of water weekly with about 70% used outdoors?

And have you considered that freely available rainwater does not soak into asphalt and concrete for us to capture, but, instead, flows away, picking up contaminants as it goes, on into over-burdened sewer systems (and hence on into our area waterways)?

Well, this runoff is not just water over the dam, if it highlights how valuable rainwater is to us as an, albeit, neglected, but available precious resource. The trick is: how to keep the rain where it falls to be reused.

 

 

 

Rain Runoff: Instead of being just runoff like pictured here, the trick is to capture rain where it falls to be reused.

Rain Runoff: Instead of being just runoff as pictured here, the trick is to capture rain where it falls to be reused.

 

 

 

# 3 insert Harvesting rainwater is not a new idea. People have been collecting it for generations, frequently storing it in rain barrels.

And this is still a viable method. But there’s a lot more that can be done with falling rain than saving small amounts in unattractive above-ground  containers.

 

 

 

Healthy Ecosystems:

Healthy Ecosystems:

Through our Rainwater Harvesting Group, Deck and Patio specializes in installing rainwater harvesting systems that capture rainwater as part of a complete self-sustaining eco-system.

 

 

Beautiful Backyard Water Features:

Beautiful Backyard Water Features:

Captured, filtered and recirculated rainwater, in sufficient amounts to supply attractive water features, work together with carefully chosen plants, fish, rocks and gravel, to maintain a balanced system for long-term sustainability.

 

 

 

Rainwater Harvesting:

Rainwater Harvesting:

Using Aquascape’s RainXchange, and sometimes permeable pavers as pictured here, today’s rainwater harvesting systems capture sufficient rainwater to also wash your car and/or hose down the deck and patio. And when you consider that  local Long island water companies frequently charge an incremental rate, based on the amount of water used, capturing all the non-ingestive water you need from rainfall, the lower your rate will be.

 

Harvesting Rainwater Roof Runoff:

Harvesting Rainwater Roof Runoff:

For this project, four downspouts collects about three quarters of the clients’ roof runoff, which goes through containers with filters to screen out twigs and small debris before sending the rainwater down into the reservoir for reuse in irrigation and to top off a backyard pond when needed.

 

Backyard Wildlife Refuge:

Backyard Wildlife Refuge:

This water feature by Deck and Patio includes a stream and multiple waterfalls — all recirculated through the same RainXchange water collection system. City water is not used. Such a feature attracts desirable wildlife such as frogs, butterflies, birds etc. creating one’s own wildlife refuge.

 

 

Rainwater Harvesting: Because Open Space Is a Terrible Thing to Waste

Rainwater Harvesting (Long Island/NY): The Aquascape ‘green’ RainExchange process combines a decorative water feature with a completely sub-surface collection system -- thereby creating a beautiful backyard oasis that is very eco-friendly.

Rainwater Harvesting (Long Island/NY): The Aquascape ‘green’ RainExchange process for this feature combines a decorative water feature with a completely sub-surface collection system — thereby creating a beautiful backyard oasis that is very eco-friendly.

Our pond experts at Deck and Patio — and a growing number of new clients — want a pond and waterfall less as a lovely background filler and more for the opportunity it offers to invigorate the surrounding ecosystem.

Indeed, the sound and look of moving water brings any yard or business property a restful escape for rejuvenation, which in and of itself is a great idea. But ponds and pond-less water features also provide an opportunity for rainwater harvesting, thereby saving water and aiding the local ecology.

As certified installers of Aquascape Inc. (St. Charles, IL), our water systems and water garden products are both technologically and biologically efficient. Using high efficiency pumps, skimmers, biological filters, as well as gravel beds, and water plants, these contribute to creating a total natural biological system around ponds and waterfalls that can be replenished and maintained entirely through rainfall.

Such rainwater harvesting systems will support the beautiful water feature you install — fountains, waterfalls, ponds, streams — by ecologically collecting and reusing rainwater. This captured water can also replenish the surrounding landscape, wash a car, rinse down a deck or patio, etc., and is especially helpful during droughts.

Rainwater Harvesting Reservoirs

“Totally below ground, a rainwater harvesting reservoir acts as a ‘green’ maintenance-free source for the water feature that can run from March through December, 24-7,” says Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter. “City water is not used. The water is harvested totally from rainfall on the roof of the house or through permeable pavers. Gravity alone collects it into pipes and moves it along.”

 

Pondless Reservoir (Long Island/NY):

Pondless Reservoir (Long Island/NY):

(Above) The “green” pondless reservoir system we installed at the end of the stream captures the water and recirculates it, making it a green system. Plus we designed it to seemingly disappear into the gravel instead of looking as if it’s being collected. We planted dense and durable evergreens such as Procumbent Juniper that are very low maintenance and spread nicely. For color we used Begonias, Coleus, and flowering plants like Astilbe.

 

Beautiful Pondscape (Long Island/NY):

Beautiful Pondscape (Long Island/NY):

Along with waterfalls, stream and pond, for a healthy ecosystem, it is essential to choose the right stones and gravel (which provide the correct ph value for the fish and plants). A beautiful Japanese maple shades this pondscape’s bridge; bright red geraniums add a strong burst of color (bottom right of photo).

 

Permeable Pavers for Water Purification and Collection

Permeable pavers over gravel and a rubber liner allow easy walking while capturing and filtering rainwater for reuse. The gravel underneath the pavers filters the collected water runoff before it is sent to any reservoir installed at the end of a stream/water feature.

The system we use for this is a RainXchange Harvesting System, produced by Aquascapes Inc. In addition to using the water collected by the pavers, the system includes an auxiliary pump that can be connected to any irrigation system including a roof runoff system.

In collaboration with the Town of Huntington, we did such a project at our local Train Station:

 

Rainwater Harvesting Water Feature (Huntington Station/NY):

Rainwater Harvesting Water Feature (Huntington Station/NY):

This water feature is not just for aesthetics, but it is highly functional. Its waterfall aerates the water — or oxygenates it. The water plants absorb nutrients and pollutants to help purify the water. All together, the gravel, liner, and plants create a self-sustaining rainwater harvesting garden. The station area is now a magnet for local birds who come here to bathe and drink.

 

Rainwater Harvesting (Brooklyn/NY):

Rainwater Harvesting (Brooklyn/NY):

100% of this client’s irrigation water comes from what falls from the roof and onto the patio. In this first of 3 photos, you see how rainwater is collected from the roof. At any given time, there is now about 1,000 gallons of water in the reservoir and about an equal amount of water underneath their permeable pavers.

 

Rainwater Harvesting (Brooklyn/NY):

Rainwater Harvesting (Brooklyn/NY):

Voids between the pavers are filled with crushed stone; when rain passes through the pavers’ joint spaces, it flows down into an underneath layer of bluestone gravel and about an inch of crushed stone which filters the water. Under all that, a liner captures the rainwater, and it is pitched so it pushes water towards the underground reservoir.

 

Rainwater Harvesting (Brooklyn/NY):

Rainwater Harvesting (Brooklyn/NY):

For this project, we also installed an automatic valve; when the water gets low in their new pond, waterfalls or stream, water in the irrigation system flows in and replenishes it.

 

 

Rainwater Harvesting: Savings from a Rainy Day

Have you ever considered that one way you can save for a rainy day is by saving water from a rainy day? Depending on the municipality that supplies your water and how much water you need for irrigation, etc., capturing rainwater can significantly reduce water bills.

With over 1/2-acre of wooded gardens, these homeowners had a well that operated a sprinkler system. It maintained their vegetable garden along with their entire property’s landscape. After the well stopped working, they asked us to provide another way to irrigate it all without using city water. In addition, they wanted a playground beside a pond, with waterfalls and stream. They hoped captured rainwater would help maintain these as well.

The Rainwater Harvesting System

The system we installed provides two ways to capture all the necessary rainwater. First, water from the roof is collected and sent to an underground 1,000-gallon reservoir. Because the clients also needed a new patio, this presented the ideal opportunity to use “permeable” pavers that collect water underneath what is now a new 1,000-square-foot patio.

Challenges

The home is located in an historic area in central Brooklyn, so all changes to the property and home had to be approved by the local historical society. Also, the property sloped and we needed a series of perforated pipe and bulkhead fittings to get all of the water to flow the correct way. Lastly, the New York City location made for difficult logistics. Excavated materials going out and truck loads of new material coming in was complicated, and we heard many beeping horns.

Results

With the Aquascape RainXchange rainwater harvesting system, 100% of their irrigation water comes from what falls from the roof and onto the patio. At any given time, there is now about 1,000 gallons of water in the reservoir and about an equal amount of water underneath their permeable pavers. In addition, we installed an automatic valve; when the water gets low in their new pond, waterfalls or stream, water in the irrigation system flows in and replenishes them.

 

Installing Rainwater Harvesting Systems:

Installing Rainwater Harvesting Systems:

The site was pitched the wrong way which made it difficult to get roof water, and water from the permeable pavement, to the 1,000 gallon reservoir. There was also a large pergola with a 30-year-old-grape vine right next to the reservoir that could not be damaged. The peaceful scene of the patio and its surroundings gives no hint of the work involved and the underground systems supporting it all.

 

Capturing Roof Rainwater:

Capturing Roof Rainwater:

Four downspouts collects about three quarters of the clients’ roof runoff, which goes through containers with filters to screen out twigs and small debris before sending the rainwater down into the reservoir.

 

Permeable Pavers:

Permeable Pavers:

Voids between the pavers are filled with crushed stone; when rain passes through the pavers’ joint spaces, it flows down into an underneath layer of bluestone gravel and about an inch of crushed stone which filters the water. Under all that, a liner captures the rainwater, and it is pitched so it pushes water towards the underground reservoir.

 

Rainwater Harvesting Process:

Rainwater Harvesting Process:

Just off the patio, a bubbling rock, which aerates and cleans the water, is connected to the reservoir system and pumps the water through the gravel to clear out impurities. That pump is hooked up to a high-pressure booster pump which operates the irrigation system for the yard.

 

Backyard Waterfalls and Stream:

Backyard Waterfalls and Stream:

When water gets low in the clients’ water feature, harvested rainwater in the irrigation system replenishes them.

 

Aquascape RainXchange™ Harvesting Systems:

Aquascape RainXchange™ Harvesting Systems:

Aquascape’s systems are a revolutionary design that combines a recirculating decorative water feature — like the bubbling rock we installed here — with a sub-surface rainwater harvesting collection system. The clients just enjoy it as a water feature, while the system filters and aerates the stored water to prevent stagnation.

 

 

 

Rain On! Making Every Day “Earth Day”

Next Wednesday (April 22) is Earth Day, a day when people around the world focus on the well-being of Planet Earth.

At Deck and Patio, however, we strive to make every day Earth Day. When working to beautify a landscape, we consider the project’s impact not only on the property, but how it will affect  surrounding habitats.

It is not surprising, then, that water being such a dominant part of the Earth’s health, offering sustainable water features to our clients has become a key element of our business. When these are installed, consumption of the local municipal water supply is significantly reduced.

In fact, Long Island and her environs’ growing passion for such projects has evolved an entire separate division at our company: The Rainwater Harvesting Group, where RainXchange systems by Aquascape Inc. are the mainstay of our water preservation projects. And they have included residential, public, commercial, and industrial properties.

Here is a small sampling.

 

Backyard Habitat for Wildlife:

Backyard Habitat for Wildlife:

There are lots of bonuses in having a backyard sustainable water feature. Because the water held in the Aquascape RainXchange system is always moving and being aerated, it can’t help but become a sanctuary for wildlife.

 

How Wildlife Aid Ecosystems:

How Wildlife Aid Ecosystems:

“When you attract wildlife such as this North American Bullfrog into your yard and other amphibians who like to hatch eggs in or near water, you contribute to a healthy eco-system,” says Bill Renter, Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert. “Frogs, for example, eat algae in the water, thereby helping to keep it clean. Adult toads also aid your garden because they help control insects — as do the birds that the water feature will naturally attract.” (Photo: Wikipedia/Tigershrike)

 

RainXchange Systems:

RainXchange Systems:

For this same decorative water feature, the water seems to disappear into the gravel, but instead is collected in a completely sub-surface system. There it is recirculated to maintain the feature. Bright plantings that include green ground cover and water plants, as well as river gravel, add to the natural look and serenity of it all.

 

Public Sustainable Water Feature:

Public Sustainable Water Feature:

In cooperation with the Town of Huntington (Long Island), we added a serene water feature and a paver pathway at the area train station parking lot. Permeable pavers by Techo-Bloc were put over gravel and a rubber liner which filter the rainwater runoff before it reaches the reservoir we installed at the end of the stream.

 

Public Sustainable Water Feature:

Public Sustainable Water Feature:

“There is enough captured water at this train station water feature to not only sustain itself, but to also irrigate all the plantings,” says Bill Renter. “Plus, this eco-friendly system keeps any non-filtered rainwater from going into the Town’s sewer system and on into Huntington Bay.”

 

Rainwater Collection from Brooklyn Roof:

Rainwater Collection from Brooklyn Roof:

Here you see us when we were hard at work in Brooklyn. Now that it’s finished, when water falls off the clients’ 4-story roof, it collects in a 500-gallon underground rainwater harvesting reservoir (RainXchange). “When the reservoir is full, water flows into an overflow regeneration zone where it can perk slowly back into the ground,” says Renter.

 

Private Water Systems:

Private Water Systems:

In the past, excess rainfall from this Brooklyn 4-story roof ran off — unfiltered — into the NY City sewer system. Now, because the overflow is collected, stored, and controlled, rainwater maintains their backyard plant and vegetable gardens, completely separate from the city’s water systems.

For Backyard Water Features: Some Like it “Pondless”

Deck and Patio Wins Silver LIPSA award

 

Clients of ours, who were saving for a pool, wanted some sort of water feature to enjoy immediately. They had a lovely wooded backyard, so it also had to be natural looking.

After deciding on a stream with an upper and lower waterfall, they opted for a “pondless” reservoir system to collect the water. Their property abuts parkland and they were concerned that the usual above-ground type of fish pond would attract too many wild animals.

The “green” pondless reservoir system we installed at the end of the stream captures the water and recirculates it, making it a green system. Plus we designed it to seemingly disappear into the gravel instead of looking as if it’s being collected.

Deck and Patio’s Bill Renter chose a location for the waterfall feature where it could be seen from inside the house as well as from the patio.

“We took advantage of the property’s slope. By allowing gravity to carry the stream water down to the waterfall, we were able to set the whole feature right into the existing hill with little reshaping of the land.”

Landscaping was also very important to these Huntington homeowners. Deck and Patio designed the project to be exuberant in both color and variety. These plantings are all set around imported moss rocks and other natural stones.

For our efforts, Long Island Pool and Spa Association (LIPSA) lauded us with a Silver Medal!

 

Pondless Waterfalls:

Pondless Waterfalls:

The Aquascape Inc. pondless system recirculates the water from the stream and waterfall via an underground reservoir. It’s ideal for those who want to enjoy the beauty of a waterfall without the pond. We wanted it to appear as if the water is disappearing into the gravel.

 

Lush Plantings:

Lush Plantings:

We used dense and durable evergreens such as Procumbent Juniper that are very low maintenance and spread nicely. For color we used such delights as Begonias, Coleus, and flowering plants like Astilbe.

 

Using Moss Rock:

Using Moss Rock:

Graceful plants such as Pennisetum drape over and round the moss rock and natural stones that Deck and Patio installed; the rocks were positioned to help move the water in different directions, just like it would appear in nature.

 

Techo-Bloc Patio:

Techo-Bloc Patio:

The existing patio was previously installed by Deck and Patio. It was made from Techo-Bloc’s Elena in “Earth Brown” which offers five differently-sized stones to create a beautiful random pattern.

 

Water Feature Landscaping:

Water Feature Landscaping:

Plantings also included various deciduous shrubs and several Norway Spruce. Behind the upper waterfall is a colorful Japanese Maple. Other plants include Japanese Blood Grass, Sedum Autumn Joy, Hosta Sum and Substance, and one of the water plants is Yellow Flag Iris.

Right As Rain: Rainwater Harvesting Group Wins Award

Update (8-11-15): At their annual Pondemonium teaching event, a few days ago Aquascape Inc. awarded Bill Renter and The Deck and Patio Company “Conservationist of the Year” for this project!! We added a photo of Bill getting the “Top Frog” award immediately below. Note: This new award is above and beyond its earlier 2013 award.

 

Bill Renter Receives Aquascape Inc. Award

Bill Renter Receives Aquascape Inc. Award

 

 

The sustainable division of The Deck and Patio Company — Rainwater Harvesting Group — recently won a prestigious award for a rainwater harvesting project at the LIRR station, in Huntington Station (NY).

“Rainwater harvesting is just what it sounds like,” says Deck and Patio owner, Bill Renter. “It’s a green method of capturing rainwater, which can be used at your residence or business for tasks that don’t require treated water: washing vehicles, lawn watering, washing a deck, or maintaining a garden or water feature. In this case, the project was for a public water feature at our local train station.”

It came about one day when Bill was engaged in a casual conversation with a few women who live nearby. They were planting flowers near the station to brighten it up. As the local landscaper for the area, he offered to help them by adding plants, flowers, shrubs and moss rocks.

“However, I learned at that time there was no immediate access to clean water. The women had been lugging five-gallon buckets of water from their condos to maintain the plants they put in. I thought there must be a way to help with that, too.

“First, we added some moisture retention product to the soil so less water was needed. Then I noticed there was no walkway beyond the small brick and cement sidewalk. There was only a dirt path. It was not handicap accessible and it seemed like the spot needed more than just plants and shrubs.”

After consulting with our Rainwater Harvesting Group, and gaining the support of the Town of Huntington, we installed a lovely water feature as well as a paver pathway for direct access from the curb to the parking lot.

We laid Techo-Bloc permeable pavers over gravel and a rubber liner. The gravel and liner filter the water runoff before it is sent to the reservoir we installed at the end of the stream in the water feature. The system we used is a RainXchange Harvesting System, produced by Aquascapes Inc.

“There is enough captured water to not only sustain the water feature, but to also irrigate all the plantings,” adds Bill. “Plus, this eco-friendly system keeps any non-filtered rainwater from going into the Town’s sewer system and on into Huntington Bay.”

This project has ignited interest in creating an entire rainwater harvesting park as part of the Town’s on-going revitalization of Huntington Station. Just recently, our company received a 2014 Bronze Award from Long Island Pool & Spa Association (LIPSA) for the feature.

 

 

Rainwater Harvesting at Huntington Station NY

Rainwater Harvesting at Huntington Station NY

Where once was only a dirt path from the sidewalk to the train parking lot, permeable pavers allow easy walking (arrow area pavers) while capturing and filtering rainwater for reuse. The pavers used are Techo-Bloc Victorien Permeable Pavers.

 

 

Water Feature (Huntington Station/NY)

Water Feature (Huntington Station/NY)

The water feature is not just for aesthetics, but it is highly functional. Its waterfall aerates the water — or oxygenates it. The water plants that our Rainwater Harvesting Group planted absorb nutrients and pollutants  to help purify the water. All together, the gravel, liner, and plants create a self-sustaining rainwater harvesting garden. The area is now a magnet for local birds who come here to bathe and drink.

 

 

Rainwater Harvesting System

Rainwater Harvesting System

The RainXchange Harvesting Systems (produced by Aquascapes Inc.) includes an auxiliary pump connected to the irrigation system. This ensures that the water used isn’t city water, but harvested entirely from rainwater. The below ground Aquascape Aqua Blox Reservoir holds 500 gallons of rainwater.

 

 

Collecting and Recycling Rainwater

Collecting and Recycling Rainwater

This project has ignited interest in creating an entire rainwater harvesting park as part of the Town’s revitalization of the area. In such a park, the rainwater would be harvested from different areas and sustain park streams, ponds, as well as irrigate the turf and plantings.