Archive for March, 2009

Wooden Rain Barrels And A Focus On Green Homes

March 21st, 2009


Wooden rain barrels can play an integral part in any green home landscaping efforts. This article reviews other important ways to make your landscape more green.

Landscaping a home in green manner is an important part of planning and building your green home. Landscaping consumes a lot of water and maintaining your yard can produce a large amount of carbon monoxide. Green landscaping means selecting plants that reduce the amount of water used to keep them alive.

White Oak Rain BarrelsFor the lawn, plant grass that grows very slowly and requires very little water to survive. By planting this type of grass, your lawn would not need to be mowed every week, but maybe only a few times a summer, reducing the amount of exhaust from your mowing activities. Also since water bills are usually calculated by consumption, the less water the yard requires, the lower the water bill.

For the plants and bushes around the home, select hardy plants. Hardy plants are less susceptible to diseases and damaging pests, allowing you to forego or eliminate pesticides and fertilizers. The less of these chemicals that are used the better it is for the environment, reducing the amount of chemicals that run-off of plants during a rainstorm and soak into the ground. This type of run-off of pesticides and fertilizers has the potential to contaminate ground water and drinking water.

Another major consideration with green landscaping is the heat island effect. The heat island effect is heat from the home, from man-made surfaces around the home, and from the lack of appropriate landscaping. The combined heat from these sources can increase the temperature in a community noticeably. Heat islands can cause increased use of air conditioning, increased air pollution and greenhouse gas production, and lower water quality.

For your green home, this effect can make your heating and cooling systems less effective. The right types of landscaping can help prevent the heat island effect. For example, planting our hardy trees, shrubs and plants at least 24 inches away from the house can break up the heat transfer mechanism. In addition, planting deciduous trees on the west side of your green home or along driveways and walkways can be very effective for cooling the house and yard. Plan ahead, though. Trees and bushes growth over time can interfere with the effectiveness of any solar panels that are installed.

When planning your landscaping, plan to install a rain barrel as well. Why not store some of the run-off rainwater for eco-friendly, free water for watering the lawn, plants, scrubs, and trees? In addition to a rain barrel, the ground can be shaped to direct water coming from the roof and the ground during a rainstorm to collect around the plants, shrubs, and trees in the yard. This allows the earth to do your work for you. As the water from the storm drains into the ground, the last part of the ground to dry out is the part of the lawn that received the most water, reducing the amount of tap water needed.

By taking the extra time to address these issues during the design of your green home, you can achieve a beautiful, very low maintenance and environmental-friendly landscaped yard.

Author: Kimberley Ward

Kim Ward is Marketing Director for Green Earth Energy Homes at

Green Earth Energy Homes offer affordable, practical, LEED and Energy Star certified homes. Save thousands on energy costs and qualify for thousands in government tax incentives and benefits. Contact Kim for more information about our green homes or to view our model

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Wooden rain barrels are an easy addition to a green home and the benefits will more than pay for themselves very quickly. Why not add a wooden rain barrel to your landscape.

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A Plastic Rain Barrel Provides Many Benefits For The Home

March 21st, 2009


A plastic rain barrel offers many benefits such as saving water, reducing your water bill and helping the environment. This article reviews some reasons why a plastic rain barrel is a good addition to your home and why you should consider one.

Have you ever looked outside during a particularly strong rain shower and thought about all that water that was going to waste? Even a halfway decent summer shower can produce thousands of gallons of water in an amazingly short period of time. Oftentimes, all that water is simply wasted, which is a shame really when you could be collecting at least a small portion of it with rain barrels.

Rain barrels are particularly handy devices to have around the house especially if you are concerned about reducing your consumption of water from your mains source-as you should be. Not only can they reduce your water bill considerably, they also have a far-reaching effect on your immediate locality and on the environment in general.

If every one of us installed rain barrels around our property, we can greatly reduce the amount of water that seeps into the ground, stripping the top soil of essential nutrients and possibly even leaching pollutants into the water table underneath. Installing rain barrels can also lessen the load on your city’s sewage and water treatment facilities.

<—- Here’s a great little video on how a recycled food barrel can be used as a plastic rain barrel —->


With all the benefits that these can bring to the environment, there are more than enough reasons why we should have them around the home. Even without these benefits however, the water that we can collect from them can be useful for our own daily needs. The water that you collect in rain barrels can be used for a wide variety of tasks that do not require potable water, such as watering plants or livestock for instance, and even for washing clothes, cars, driveways, and tools. These are all uses that we do not have to depend on the mains water supply for, and for which rain barrels are particularly useful.

small rain barrels

Rain barrels are not that hard to make either, or-if you choose to buy one-that expensive. In fact, you can make do with any number of commonly available household materials and improvise rain barrels that will do more than an adequate job of collecting water. When making rain barrels out of household materials however, it is important to make sure that you use only food grade plastic. Other types of materials may contain chemicals that can leach into the collected water, thereby restricting their potential use.

The rain barrell can be strategically located in an area of your property where they will be able to collect the most amount of water. Underneath water spouts that connect from your roof are good examples, and this will allow for more efficient water collection.

As a means of reducing your impact on the environment and to help you save on water costs, rain barrels simply cannot be beat!

Author: Al Zan

For more on rain barrels and where to find discounts, visit

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