Stormwater Retention Ideas as Part of Your Landscape Design

Living in southern California there are often droughts and water shortages. This makes rain water a scarce resource that we should use more often. Many people have at some point considered catching the rain water but aren’t sure where to start. Afterall when it rains, it’s free water that your plants enjoy and is free. 

Unfortunately much of the rain water that isn’t absorbed by soil often evaporates and doesn’t get used. Amending your soil with compost or mulch can help it to retain more water but there is only so much before the soil becomes completely saturated. Today we’ll go over some suggestions and design elements on how to collect stormwater, save a bit of money and make use of this natural resource.

What is Stormwater Retention?

There is a myth that in southern California it was illegal to catch rainwater, but this can’t be further from the truth. Anyone can have stormwater retention on their property so long as the water you are collecting comes from your roof, no permit is required.

Areas such as Long Beach tend to get about 15 inches of rain on average every year. Much of the rainwater that lands on roofs or driveways results in runoff. Runoff water can collect pollutants that enter the city’s storm drain system which leads to larger bodies of water until it eventually reaches the ocean. Stormwater retention is a great way to conserve water, save money, and keep your plants looking vibrant. It may seem like installing a stormwater retention system is a drop in the bucket due to the infrequent rain we get, but it all adds up.

Designing a Stormwater Retention System

Stormwater retention typically begins with the gutter system that collects rainfall from your roof. Rain gutters are already a good investment as they protect your home’s walls and foundation from water erosion as it directs run off water to either a drain or the street. But why not collect this rainfall in a vessel like a barrel?

A simple solution to collecting stormwater from your roof is to simply put a barrel where your gutters drain. That’s all you really need to collect rainwater, however many people will agree that a large plastic barrel on the side of your home can not only be unsightly but take up quite a bit of space. 

On a 1,000 square foot roof, an inch or rain can give you about 600 gallons of water. Design choices to consider for collecting water from your roof include using seamless gutters which give a clean sleek look to the system and helps prevent leaks due to having less failure points. A leaf filter and a downspout fist flush filter should also be installed to prevent debris from being collected. Afterwards it’s a matter of hiding the plumbing that goes to your water collection vessel of choice.

You could then use this water to give your landscape a splash during the dryer days, and avoid any local water ordinances you may be subjected to in the future.

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