Updated: December 28, 2017
A few months ago, we installed a rainwater harvesting system to water our office’s community garden. In the past year, Overland started a small produce garden just outside the facility. Growing crops such as broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, and more, the garden is a great example of living sustainably. It is important to us that we put into practice the things we advertise, so this was a way for us to show that we do more than talk about the importance of implementing sustainability into architecture by creating a sustainable facet in our every day lives. However, finding an environmentally-friendly water source in South Texas is hard at times. Rather than using a hose or sprinklers, the sustainability department had the idea to recycle old barrels, using them to collect rainwater that would then be used to water the plants.
When we first got the barrels, they were old and rusted, making them appear unkempt next to the neat brick walls of the Overland office. We decided to pair off, creating groups to creatively decorate the barrels in order to promote using rainwater in a way that was still aesthetically pleasing. It has been a few months since the barrels were crafted, and the plants are doing great. Tomatoes and peppers ripened earlier this Fall and were shared amongst the office community as people added them to salads and other lunch foods. We are finally getting our first broccoli and cauliflower blooms as winter sets in, so we will be sure to cover them so they are protected from the cold. Below are some pictures as well as a step-by-step guide on how to make home-made rain water barrels: