With water costs soaring in recent years, water bills could be mistaken for mortgage payments. Considering the precious resource that is our fresh water we can appreciate that misuse and waste might be dissuaded by these prices, but our plants need water!!! So what’s a gardner to do? Well in short, make your own. Now we’re not suggesting that you start combining elements to create your very own H20 but we are strongly recommending putting in place a water conservation system. There are the collection (or active) forms of water conservation which involve systems like those big blue barrels to more passive systems like swales in your garden beds. We’d like to review a few of our favourite;

Active Collection

The Rain Barrel

So, we mentioned the big blue barrel. Which are great, if you have a large space or if aesthetic is not all that important. There are a lot of options beyond the blue behemoth, that will work as well or better. In terms of rain barrels they’ve come a long way baby! If you’ve got rain gutters on your home your half way there you simply need to install the barrel under a downspout and let mother nature do the rest. Some of our personal favourites include:


This lovely option has the look of a wine barrel and includes a screen at the top to prevent bugs like mosquito’s from breeding and an easy to use brass spigot at the bottom.



Love this since you flip the lid to add planter space at the top and fill it up with flowers. It comes with a diverter so no need to purchase any extra equipment. With a copper spigot and hose attachment at the bottom it will simplify the process of using your rain water supply.

Harvesting Tanks

Some forward thinking municipalities have instituted rebates for homeowners installing rain water harvesting tanks. These systems are a bit more involved and generally would include a pretty substantial investment. Good news is that over the life of the system it can pay you (and the environment) back in spades. A rain water cistern can hold well over 500 Litres of water and is generally connected to both your gutter system as well as an auxiliary pump that would connect to your hose for added pressure.

Passive Collection

These methods are all about diverting and slowing water flow so that it best suits your purposes. Using either French Drains or Dry Stream Beds – Both of these options employ stone to help spread water through slow run off over a large area. Use river rock or white gravel to create the illusion of a water flow and serve as a landscape feature.

Dry Stream Bed

French Drain


Swales are really just ditches with flat bottoms that collect water. Dig them around the outer contours of a particular landscape for the purpose of holding and sinking the water. This will help to hydrate the soil and prevent water from just running down the hill or away from your garden bed.

Now there are more systems out there, but we thought we’d touch on a few. Looking for more ideas? Speak with a Ridgeview expert!

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