While David was thinking about using water storage to create an mini-urban wetland, I was being inspired by the sight of a frog in our backyard. This was either an amazing coincidence or just a case of being on the same wavelength but water was a topic that David and I were pondering simultaneously.
My close encounter of the amphibian kind occurred while cleaning the inlet on the rainwater tank where we currently live. As I moved some plant branches out of the way, a Southern Brown Tree Frog hopped away onto a nearby branch. It froze in a crouch and watched warily to see if I was going to make any threatening moves. While I stared back, the thought occurred to me that we should investigate creating a frog-friendly location while developing the property. I’ve come to regard frogs as a sign of a healthy environment so I took this as an indicator that our backyard was doing alright in terms of looking after a variety of residents. Perhaps the sump under the river bed water feature was providing a home for frogs. I tucked the frog support note into the mental to-do list.
Later that day, I passed on to David a tidbit of information that one of our new neighbours had discussed with us. We had met them a couple of weeks ago and they had made us feel welcome in the neighbourhood. In fact, all the neighbours have been welcoming. This location already has a sense of community.
Apparently, during heavy rain, there is a chance of an ankle deep rivulet forming in the neighbourhood and flowing through the back section of the property. It doesn’t last long but could cause problems if the event was a surprise.
Rainwater management means working with the water flow, not fighting against natural patterns
David’s response to the news was that he had been thinking about incorporating a water catchment area to serve as an ecosystem for local wildlife and provide some services for the house (eg rain water storage providing water for gardens). It would be an attractive garden feature as well as providing a wonderful view looking out the windows. It was if my frog-friendly place was already taking shape as part of his creative process. Further, knowing about the occasional mini-flood meant this water flow could be incorporated into the catchment design. Additional water could be stored, not wasted. Excess water would then be diverted and managed as it made its way off the property.
In this case, listening to what the property is telling us means working with the rainfall, both on our property and overflow from other properties. We can use these streams and aim to make something that benefits us through reduced reliance on mains water, as well as providing a home for flora and fauna.
As with all the ideas at this time, it’s early days. However, this is an exciting prospect which will be explored in more detail as the design progresses.