Native Plant Greywater Garden Complete!
These native plants in a mulch basin can filter water going back into the landscape.
Hey everybody, it’s Amanda with some exciting news! Finally, the long-planned greywater garden is finished! I attended a class held by the Beaver Watershed Alliance and their partners on this last October 2017 and have been awaiting the day when our household greywater would become an asset to the environment. They gave us a $250 grant to help cover cost of materials like plants and mulch, which is really cool and made this project within our budget. Our tiny house uses a rainwater harvesting system. Rain falls on the roof and into gutters that collect it into a 550 gallon cistern. Water is pumped into the house for use at the kitchen and bathroom sinks and a shower. Since we have a “composting” toilet (by Separett of Sweden), it doesn’t use any water – no flushing involved, although we do use a cup of water to rinse the urine diverter, per the company’s recommendations. Water from these 2 sinks and shower then leaves the home, flowing through outlet pipes leading into a mulch basin filled with local soil, gravel and native plants.
We purchased 6 milkweed plants from the Northwest Arkansas Master Naturalists during their fall plant sale at the Washington County Extension building, and 4 dwarf Little Henry Sweetspire shrubs from White River Nursery in Fayetteville. As our tiny house required so many fixes due to myriad problems, we are behind on winterization and still working through solutions. The greywater garden was not as high a priority as having a functional bathroom and climate control, so it got delayed repeatedly. Last weekend, some awesome friends from the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Fayetteville came to help us out. Thanks Y’ALL! We couldn’t have done this without your help. We’ve just been too busy!
The photos below show our installation process. Neither Ryan nor I have time to figure out why they won’t post in the order of beginning to end, so, I apologize but you’ll have to tolerate our extremely busy schedule and forgive us for not making it better. First, we dug a 6×6 square hole roughly a foot deep and level. We placed PVC pipe into a shallow trench leading to this basin. The pipe has a T junction that splits the water into two streams, each going into an upside-down plastic bucket with holes cut for both this pipe as well as a place to check on things and remove clogs if needed. A large rock was placed atop the buckets to cover these check-up holes. Gravel below each bucket ensures the water can seep out into the soil bed. The 10 plants were spaced around the garden depending on their water requirements, with the swamp milkweed in the center due to its high tolerance of “wet feet.” Soil was put in around the plants and pipes, and mulch layered over the soil, PVC pipes, and covering the trench. 6 bags of mulch (or 12 cubic feet) were used to cover everything. A light snow fell as a final frosting to this wonderful garden that will help turn greywater runoff into a benefit for native plants, worms, and pollinators while protecting the health of the region’s watershed. Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible!