EcoScapes works responsibly within the arid southwest, which translates to appropriate choice of plantings, application of mulch and inclusion of water conservation methods. Our comprehensive designs encompass elements of both active and passive water harvesting techniques, grey water and drip irrigation systems. To maximize the water resources that flow through the property, EcoScapes works with clients to effectively include a combination of methods.
Drip Irrigation services include:
- Installation of new irrigation systems, system evaluations and estimates.
- Spring activation and winterization of existing systems. These services include cistern integrated systems and battery operated irrigation zones.
- Basic maintenance, repair and overall health check of irrigation systems.
- Water audits to provide information about current water consumption and give clients data, then systems can be adjusted appropriately.
- Install efficient sprinklers for both lawns and re-vegetation areas.
- Retrofit existing irrigation systems to draw from a cistern and lower potable water use.
- Complete overhaul of existing systems in order to more efficiently water existing landscapes.
- Additions to existing systems, such as new zones and adding emitters to new or growing plants and trees.
- Consultations and full-scale designs.
Passive Water Harvesting
The foundation of all our gardens lives within the health and organic activity of the soil. Improving soil health and structure helps maintain soil moisture, allowing for the growth of microorganisms required for sustainable soils, thriving plants and healthy microclimates. In addition to improving soil structure, the EcoScapes team uses swales and berms, dry streambeds, pumice wicks, mulch and infiltration basins to passively capture and hold water on site.
Passive water harvesting first requires careful observation of the flow of water across and through the landscape, including water runoff from nearby buildings, slopes and waterways. Observation is followed by thoughtful design and construction of a system that slows storm water. Slowing the speed of the water allows rainwater to seep into the roots of trees, shrubs and other vegetation.
Active Water Harvesting
- One inch of rainwater falling on a 2,000 square foot roof can yield over 1,200 gallons of water; and, with a cistern you can collect and save this valuable FREE resource!
- Rainwater is naturally “soft”, or low in minerals, which makes it better for garden and yard uses when compared to “hard” tap water.
- Stored rainwater creates a buffer to protect one’s investment in trees, other plants and landscape features like fountains and ponds.
- Positively influences property values.
- Rising water prices or governmental restrictions on water use during prime growing season can be mitigated by having adequate rainwater storage.
- Reduces damage to creeks, water habitats and organisms due to stormwater runoff. Increased rainwater collection and storage reduces the pressure on municipalities and other water districts to add expensive infrastructure required during peak growing season.
Collecting and storing rainwater in above or below ground tanks allows for irrigating plants with rainwater even during the dry hot summer months. Above ground tanks generally use gravity to direct the water to desired areas, while below ground tanks require a pump that can then take the water into an automated irrigation system. In addition to installing large fully buried polyethylene water storage tanks, the EcoScapes crew designs and builds waterproof concrete & steel water storage tanks. These vessels are shaped out of closely spaced steel rebar, covered with a mixture of Portland cement and sand, and color coated to coordinate with the stucco on a clients house. Ferrocement tanks have the advantage of being constructed on site and sized according to the client’s wishes and the site’s requirements. Ferrocement tanks can also serve as a wind block for a seating area, add privacy to a garden or act as a seating bench, in addition to being a storage vessel for rain water.
Storage, coupled with passive design, can conserve thousands of gallons of water for landscape needs year round. Fine tuning of irrigation systems, adjusted seasonally and over time, will make best use of the stored rainwater with minimal waste. Collected rainwater is also a nutritive rich, superior water for gardens. The city of santa fe offers rebates for properly installed rain barrels and cisterns, ranging from 12 cents/gallon to 50 cents/gallon – for more information, see the Save Santa Fe Water page.