Tuesday, 15 April 2014

rain chains and whisky barrels

one mans rain isn't necessarily another mans flood ....

Here's radical - I hear you say.

filling the dried, colander-like barrel
Most of the rainwater from Britain's homes flows down from our gutters, into drains - and into rivers. The speed of this run off leads to problems with flooding. At times of heavy rain the excess rain water also rushes into the sewers. The force of this causes storm drains to flood into our rivers and seas, polluting them with raw sewerage.

Aware of this, we've done it differently at Cordwood.

My favoured idea during the design stage of Waxwings was for the roof rainwater to go down the garden into a series of ponds until it softly dissipated into the soil.

This proved an expensive option. But we have a fun solution...

Instead of boring old down pipes, we have put in plastic chains for the rain water to flow down - rainchains! The rain is now a feature as it tumbles down the rain chains. Great to watch on a rainy day! We saw this use of ordinary garden chains at RHS
water exits the barrel down this vertical pipe
Rosemoor. Thanks for this idea and I was very pleased to pinch it.

At the end of the rain chains, the water will now collect in a re-used half whisky barrel. there'll be lots of dramatic splashing. And ever on the look out for different planting opportunities, there's chance here to plant the barrels with some attractive aquatic plants. An interesting patio feature......

As the rain keeps falling, the danger is that the barrels overflow. As the rainwater level rises the surplus water shoots down the pipe which is set into the base of the barrel. This pipe feeds directly into a drain. The water then goes down the drainpipes under the lawn ... and fills the pond.

When the pond is full, the surplus pond water percolates away through our sandy soil into the water table below.

Practical note:
To drill through the base of the barrel for the water pipe I wanted the wood as dry as possible. Then when the pipe was inserted, the wood would swell and make a tight seal around the plastic pipe.

When I subsequently filled the dried barrels, the slats had dried and opened, leaving gaps. They were like wooden colanders until the wood had taken up the water and swollen back to fill the gaps and make the barrels watertight again.

Never fear, dear readers, I will post a picture of the filled barrel when the barrel is fully watertight. And keep you posted as we plant our aquatics.

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