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Posted on Mar 23, 2016 in Green Building

Green Homes & Green Yards

Have you driven through our neighborhood yet? If you have, then you may have noticed the rain barrels set up outside of our homes.

rain barrel
rain barrel in progress

Green Homes, Green Yards & Happy Homeowners!

Each home will have a 530-gallon rain barrel that collects rainfall from the roof and serves as the water source for the irrigation system. This system requires homeowners to actively manage and monitor their water usage as the irrigation system will not run if the rain barrel is empty.

How it works:
The gutters are designed to collect as much rain water as possible from the roof line and feed it into the rain barrel. Water is then fed as needed to the underground sprinkler system to irrigate the lawn and landscape around the home. The rain barrel and irrigation pump are set up on the side or back of the home and the sprinkler control is set up in the garage.

Depending on roof elevation and drainage, approximately ½” – ¾” of rain will fill the entire 530-gallon barrel. (Wow!) During the summer months when it doesn’t rain as much, the homeowner can fill the barrel with a water hose. It only takes an hour to fill by hose and the hose is connected to an automatic timer to prevent overflow.

A full rain barrel, depending on the flow and zone settings, holds 2 – 20-minute cycles. The system is controlled just like a regular sprinkler system and has 3 different flow settings: drip, overhead spray and mist.

Interesting Facts:
The landscaping was carefully planned to maximize the efforts of the rain barrel and irrigation system. We’ve installed a Fescue-Bluegrass blend of sod because of its wide blade and deep roots that store more water. In addition, we also require a minimum of 1000 sq. ft. of mulch to create a net-zero run off and use drought resistant plants that perform well in Missouri’s climate and soil conditions.

Most sprinkler systems in subdivisions are set to run 1-hour 3 times a week. Since homeowners have to actively manage our system, they are not only keeping their yards green, they are using substantially less water and saving money!

Cities require subdivisions to hold a Backflow Certification and renew it annually, but since this system is not connected to city water, we are exempt.

With the rain water, you are watering your yard with non-chlorinated water. Plants weren’t made to need the chlorine and fluoride that is added to city water to keep it clean.

>>> Want to learn more about the green features in Urban North? Find more articles here.