With California scrounging for every drop of water, consider incorporating graywater, rainwater and stormwater harvesting systems into your home design. Laundry-to-Landscape is a program run by LeAnne Ravinale designed to innovatively bring water conservation into residential systems. Step one is installing a simple basin like the one below, which will catch rainwater and store “graywater” (used, but not hazardous, water) that can still be put to use in your garden or landscaping.


The Laundry-to-Landscape graywater system is usually a plumbing retro-fit that uses the internal pump of a washing machine to push waste water directly through irrigation lines with multiple outlets in your yard. Washers are the most commonly used indoor “fixture” and the easiest to divert. Below is an example of easily installed irrigation lines that will save you time on your yardwork:


A 3-port valve is installed at the washer, so the water can be diverted to the landscape or back to the sewer or septic. A one-inch polyethylene tube then carries the water to the receiving landscape, with optional 1/2 inch branches, to individual mulch “moats” around your plants.
Graywater is best for fruit trees, fruiting hedges or bushes, and large annuals or perennials. This solution is designed for plants that are not very drought-tolerant or acid-loving. (If you’re interested in designing a regionally-inspired drought-tolerant garden, learn more about drought-tolerant plants for the Santa Barbara area.) You can water edibles with graywater if the water does not have direct contact with the food (no lettuce or root crops like carrots). Your plants like plant-based soaps and most like the slight alkalinity of the water.
In addition to washing machine water, this system allows you to re-purpose water from showers, tubs and bathroom sinks that is usually gravity fed through ABS pipes to your plants in a branching (think family tree) fashion to receiving mulch “moats”.

This post is part of a DCA series on the


For more water-conscious thinking:

Water-Wise Landscaping

Conscientious Construction: Water-Wise Building Practices & the Ventura County Decision

This Just In: Santa Barbara City Council May Declare a Stage Three Drought Emergency

View dramatic photos of California’s historic drought

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