Installing and concealing a rainwater tank

Plants don't need drinking-quality water, so make the most of what's available naturally by collecting rain and reducing your water consumption. Follow these helpful hints for installing and concealing a rainwater tank.

Installing and concealing a rainwater tank

Why use rainwater?

Installing a rainwater tank will save you money on water bills and provide a backup supply during droughts and times of water restrictions. You'll also be doing your bit to help the environment in the following ways:

  • Reducing pressure on water supplies
  • Conserving valuable drinking water
  • Protecting river catchments
  • Limiting storm water run-off

Installing a rainwater tank

Do your research to ensure that you choose the type of rainwater tank best suited to your needs. Correctly placing your tank is also important for maximizing efficiency.

  • Never install a rainwater tank without first checking the local government regulations, including details on required distances from boundaries and drains.
  • Look at where your down-pipes are and consider placing your tank close by. You will save on extra pipes and you will be able to easily redirect any overflow into the storm drain.
  • Choose to place your tank in a naturally cool spot. Unwanted algae is likely to multiply in tanks if the water is warm.
  • If you can, try to position your tank at a high point in the garden. This way you can use gravity, rather than a pump, to move the water around.
  • If you do need a pump – to increase pressure for sprayers or to push water uphill – make sure you have a weatherproof power outlet nearby.
  • For units and small houses where space is limited, consider a water wall – a vertical storage system available from hardware stores, which can double as a fence.
  • Use some form of mesh, such as shade cloth, to cover your tank and prevent it from becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Concealing your rainwater tank

Although water tanks provide environmental and economic benefits, they are not particularly attractive and can be an eyesore in a small area. Here are some ideas for concealing a tank.

  • You may be able to install a tank underground. It will depend on the type of soil or rock in your garden, whether there is enough access for excavation equipment and the amount of money you want to spend.
  • Paint the tank the same colour as the wall so it will blend in better with its surroundings.
  • Put tubs of bamboo in front of the tank for an instant screen.
  • Another idea for a ready-made screen is to erect panels of reed, bamboo or tea tree, which you can find at hardware stores and landscape suppliers.
  • For a fast, seasonal cover, grow tall annuals such as sunflowers and sweet peas.
  • Place a trellis around the tank and cover it with a fast-growing evergreen climbing plant, such as orange trumpet creeper (Pyrostegia venusta).
  • Plant a row of evergreen shrubs in front of the tank as a screen. Some suitable choices include bottlebrushes, dwarf conifers, photinia or viburnum.

Installing a rainwater tank will require some upfront effort and investment, but the long-term benefits in terms of reduced water consumption, lower water bills and a positive environmental impact are well worth it!

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