New Landscaping.

Discussion in 'Garden and Lawncare' started by Hack, Oct 27, 2009.

  1. Oct 27, 2009 #1

    Hack

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    Well, we finished Phase 1 of our landscaping project. We tackled the side yard first. Low impact, low expense. Next we're on to the back, which includes rainwater harvesting, paver patio, walls, pathways, LOTS of plantings, a Fireplace and a water feature. Phew...I don't know if I'm ready for this...

    On the side yard, we had a landscape contractor do the hardscaping and rototilling/soil amendment. We did all the plantings, irrigation, lighting, mulching, etc.

    We'll probably do the same with the back. A couple of pictures of the finished product as well as the plan for the back below...

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    back plan 2.jpg
     
  2. Oct 28, 2009 #2
    That's beautiful. Good job. How many man hours?
     
  3. Dec 14, 2009 #3

    Hack

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    Sorry for the delayed reply. I don't have notifications on...

    It was about 100 man hours for the hardscaping (hired out), and another 50 hours for landscaping, irrigation, lighting, mulch, etc. (me and the wife)
     
  4. Jan 19, 2010 #4

    Hack

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    We've started Phase II of this project. Some of the highlights:

    - 3,500 Gallon rainwater harvesting system (RainXchange underground cistern)
    - 15' Water feature.
    - 15' X 15' Permeable paver patio (over cistern)
    - Two new pathways.
    - Two new decks.
    - Outdoor fireplace.
    - Remote controlled low voltage lighting...

    Enjoy!

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  5. Jan 19, 2010 #5

    oldognewtrick

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    Hack, what are you using for your water storage?
     
  6. Jan 19, 2010 #6

    inspectorD

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    Nice Job...so that's where you 've been.:D
    Looks like partytime on the patio.:trophy:
     
  7. Jan 19, 2010 #7

    Hack

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    The RainXchange system. It's a matrix of boxes under that patio you see. It's about 5-6' deep and 16' X 16' square. Basically an underground cistern. The patio allows water to filter through, and we've diverted a bunch of downspouts into the cistern as well. Roughly 3,500 gallons. A high volume low pressure pump feeds the water feature, and a booster pump handles the irrigation tasks.
     
  8. Jan 19, 2010 #8

    Hack

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    Yeah, I know. I've been working on the landscaping project since summer. I have done a couple of other little things, just nothing of interest...
     
  9. Jan 19, 2010 #9

    oldognewtrick

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    How do you see or check the water level in the storage unit?
     
  10. Jan 20, 2010 #10

    Hack

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    oldog,

    First, you should know that I'm lazy by nature. :p So the more something takes care of itself, the better. That said, here's how the system works.

    There is an access cover on one side of the cistern. This gives me access to the submersible water feature pump and associated plumbing. There is also an electronic level sensor (Jandy Levolor). It senses when the water drops to a minimum level (enough to run the water feature, but not enough to irrigate). When the water drops to this level, two things happen. First, the booster pump is de-activated and water supply for irrigation is switched over to city water supply/pressure. Second, a valve opens and keeps the water at that minimum level by refilling with city water, much like the float in a toilet.

    Our system turned out to be a bit larger because we had the space, and they had extra boxes. I think it was really because they read the plans wrong and dug the hole too big, but it doesn't really matter.

    I haven't worked out all the control details yet. My laziness, and my being an Engineer by training drive me to automate things as much as possible. There will be some logic control on this thing at some point, I just need to figure it out.

    Here's a picture of the access panel, and a diagram of the system...

    For more information, go to Water Gardens, Water Gardening, Ponds & Backyard Pond Designs or Rainwater Harvesting Collection Systems | RainXChange

    They have a TON of information there.

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    RainXchange.jpg
     
  11. Jan 22, 2010 #11

    frozenstar

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    Wow. That looks great! :D Very nice work!
     
  12. Feb 24, 2010 #12

    Hack

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    Thanks! (even though I didn't do the work) :eek:

    Here's another shot from the back door of the garage. It's looking better. I've got about half of the lower deck framed out. Need to be done by the end of May for the "garden tour"

    IMG_5562.jpg
     
  13. Feb 24, 2010 #13

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

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    How long before it pays for itself? :cool:
     
  14. Feb 24, 2010 #14

    Hack

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    The water harvesting? At today's water rates, 25 years ROI :rolleyes:

    It is likely that rationing will increase, and eventually they will cut off irrigation during summer months altogether. At least we will have a reserve of water to keep the landscaping alive throughout the year. In addition, as water rates rise, the ROI will shorten. I'm assuming rates will rise somewhat linearly over the years, which will substantially shorten the ROI, but it will probably still be long.

    One of the problems in our location is that most of the rain comes between December and March. It would be great if we could collect water and use it all year. There is one other way to collect water...fog harvesting. We get quite a bit of fog in the morning during the summer. Setting up netting to condense the fog and drain into the cistern would add to the collection. I need to run some experiments to see how much.
     
  15. Feb 24, 2010 #15

    oldognewtrick

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    You did good Hack. Really like outdoor water features. Any more additions planned?
     
  16. Feb 24, 2010 #16

    Hack

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    Yes, I'm building a new deck under the existing deck, and a deck from where that last picture was taken leading down to the patio, an outdoor fireplace on the left of the patio, and of course lighting and landscaping...

    Here's the original plan. We've changed it a bit (changed the decomposed granite pathway to flagstone to match the other pathway above, etc.)...

    Sorry, this is a duplicate of the first post...

    back plan 2.jpg
     
  17. Feb 24, 2010 #17

    Wuzzat?

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    Speakinawhich, how did you size your storage tank?

    I learn something new on this forum all the time.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fog_collection
     
  18. Feb 24, 2010 #18

    Hack

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    I used a spreadsheet that helped to define water accumulation and use based on rainfall and water demands. I would attach the file, but it's an Excel file, and this site won't let me attach it.

    We figured it out by calculating the rainfall and roof area for harvesting...sort of. We figure we have ~1,000 square feet of surface area draining into the storage matrix. Since we get about .64 gallons of water/inch of rain/square foot of surface, that means we get 640 gallons per inch of rain. We get about 25" of rain annually...which would give us the "capability" to collect ~16,000 gallons.

    BUT, to dig a hole large enough to accomodate such a system would have required permits and a soils engineering review to approve. Since this is only a "landscaping" project, we did not need permits for this size system. :clap:

    I would have loved to double the size of the system to 6-7k gallons, but we didn't want to draw attention to the project.
     
  19. Feb 24, 2010 #19

    Hack

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    Isn't that the coolest thing??? :cool:

    My contractor is going to Nepal next year to work on rainwater and fog harvesting systems for remote towns in the Himalayas.
     
  20. Mar 24, 2010 #20

    Hack

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    Quick update. I got the lower deck finished. Don't have the most recent picture with the lattice underneath, but this is close.

    Got more plants in as well. I'll try to remember to take pictures this weekend and post em up.

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