Water saving tips

rain barrel

A couple of weeks ago I attended the last class of the Green Garden Academy, a free seminar series organized by the Office of Sustainability of the City of Santa Monica; the topic was “Showers to Flowers. Learn the proper use of gray water in your garden, and how to harvest and use rainwater.” So I would like to share some easy water saving tips to implement in your homes and gardens.

Rain barrels may be attached to your downspouts, water is collected when it rains and may be used later to water your garden. Warning: install the barrels at least 6 inches high, not like I did in my garden (see pictured), so the water can flow more easily from the valve at the bottom of the barrel. The hose attached to the upper valve serves to catch the overflow during heavy rainstorms and direct it to your garden, away from the hard surfaces.

You could purchase a self-installation kit to divert the water from your washing machine to your garden, but I thought the procedure was overly complicated; out teacher admitted that buying one of the new front-loading, water-saving appliance would be a better solution.

One simple trick I had learned some time ago and have been using for years is to put a bucket inside your shower to catch the overflow while you are waiting for the water to get warm. Then you can easily carry it to your backyard, pour the water into a watering can to spread over your plants.

Find out more about rainwater harvesting here.

Please send us any water-saving tips you have been implemented in your own home and garden.

Text and photo by Elisa Leonelli

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Deni on December 4, 2010 at 10:30 am

    My favorite ways to save water every day are:

    1. Turning off water when brushing my teeth and

    2. Using the “Elite” shower head. They’re under $12 at Home Depot and Lowes. This site sells them for $19.99 – still a bargain.
    http://tinyurl.com/2dvf5qn Despite the low price, it is a high-quality shower head, with a powerful spray and has a water-saving On/Off control for when you’re “soaping up, cream rinsing and washing hair”.

    3. Run my dishwasher only when it’s full.


  2. Posted by Saran Kirschbaum on December 4, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Use the water that you get while waiting for it to get hot to rinse your dishes. Then use that water for your plants as long as it doesn’t have oil or meat in it.


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