In ancient days, water fountains were a source of drinking and wash water for local citizens. Today, cities and towns across the globe add water features to parks and town centers mainly for the beauty and tranquility they bring.
However. Whether the water feature is a fountain, water wall, waterfall, stream, or pond, it is widely accepted today that any such feature be ‘green.’
Such was the case when Deck and Patio, in collaboration with the Town of Huntington, designed/built a self-sustaining or green waterfall/water garden at one of the busiest spots in the area: the Huntington Train Station.
As background: For some time Deck and Patio has operated a sustainable division, our Rainwater Harvesting Group.
“Rainwater harvesting is just what it sounds like,” says Dave Stockwell. “It’s a green method of capturing rainwater which can be used at private residences as well as in pubic spaces.”
At one’s home, adds Dave, captured rainwater is used for tasks that don’t require treated water such as washing a deck, lawn watering, washing vehicles, and refreshing one’s garden.”
In public spaces, it can be a source for sustaining not only the beautiful relaxing water feature itself, but there, too, the surrounding garden spots and plantings can be watered as well.
How did the train station project come about?
The train station is just a few blocks from Deck and Patio’s design center at 189 Broadway.
One day a member of our team was engaged in a casual conversation with a few women planting flowers near the station.
As a local landscaper, we offered to help by adding plants, flowers, shrubs and moss rocks.
“A problem became immediately apparent,” says Dave. “There wasn’t any water source for maintaining the plants. The women had been lugging five-gallon buckets of water from their condos to maintain them.
“In addition, there was no walkway in this space, beyond a small brick and cement sidewalk. There was only a dirt path. It was also not handicap accessible and it seemed like the spot needed more than just plants and shrubs.”
After consulting with our Rainwater Harvesting Group, we approached the Town of Huntington. “They were completely on board,” says Dave. “Huntington Township takes great care to beautify our public spaces, including healthy and cheerful pole planters, etc.”
With the Town’s cooperation, Deck and Patio installed the self-sustaining water feature with an underground reservoir to store captured rainwater. To help accumulate the most rainfall, as well as add a paver pathway for direct access from the curb to the parking lot, we constructed a walk area made of permeable paves.
“We used Techo-Bloc permeable pavers and installed them over gravel and a rubber liner.,” says Dave. “These pavers allow the rainwater to seep into the ground and into the reservoir where it can be recirculated.
“The gravel and liner filter the water runoff before it is sent, using gravity alone, to the reservoir,” adds Dave. The system we used was known then Aquascape RainXchange Harvesting System which is now called “Aquascape’s Rainwater Harvesting System.”
“There is enough captured water to not only sustain the water feature, but to also irrigate all the plantings,” says Dave. “Plus, this eco-friendly system keeps falling non-filtered rainwater from going into the Town’s sewer system and on into Huntington Bay.”
The water feature is not just for aesthetics. It is highly functional. Its waterfall aerates the water — or oxygenates it. The water plants we added 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.
The Aquascape Rainwater Harvesting System 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.
The water feature at the train station (which is, alas, as of this writing buried under snow and ice!) is in total keeping with the Town’s program of beautification of public spaces.
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.