The planet is our home; we need to be more responsible. Here's what I do.
I’m very proud of one thing in the garden. It’s an almost totally recycled project that we built when we first got our house.
Unfortunately it malfunctioned recently but that gives me the chance to post how I made it.
When we moved in our tiny garden was paved and quite bare. But it had some lovely features or potential for lovely features.
I decided I really wanted a water feature.
But surely I hear you cry, “that’s not very environmental it requires water and electricity.”
I decided that if I could make it with as much recycled material as possible and without using any fresh water or electricity then I could have a water feature.
I needed to do a little bit of thinking.
First we remembered that there was a huge Belfast sink that we’d lent to somebody years before and they hadn’t actually used it.
So that was the main body or pool for the water feature.
In the shed when we moved in there was a large mirror that had a chip at one corner apart from that it was Basically okay. I decided that that would form a backdrop to this sink based water feature.
It would make sense to fill it with rocks that were also lying around in our new garden.
Now all I needed was a plastic box as a reservoir for the water.
So all the elements that I needed were assembled. I decided to balance the sink on some spare bricks that were also just lying around the garden and then the assembly of the water feature was quite straightforward.
At the bottom was the box (it happens to be bright pink). It was surrounded by the bricks. This would also cover up the box and create a more rustic feel. There is an old pair of tights covering the pink box in this picture. It stops debris from falling down to the sinkhole and blocking the pump.
Now for the mechanism.
I was very fortunate, in that when I was discussing the plan for the water feature, I happened to be in the garden centre with my mum. She was looking for something as my birthday present and we came across a solar pump.
In the original set-up the solar panels fixed to the wall high upon the shed above all the plants and get maximum sun from the south when it was sunny.
After nine years or so this system has failed it may be that the electrics corroded or the pump has finally seized for the last time but it has worked really well until this point.
The new Solar Pump doesn’t have to be attached to the wall. It also has rechargeable batteries so it can save a reservoir of energy and the fountain can then be used when it’s not sunny enough. I’ve yet figure exactly where I’m going to position it.
For it to work it needs a reservoir of water so I use rainwater from my water butts. I put in probably a gallon of water every so often if I think the weather’s been quite dry. It’s also quite handy that it doesn’t use electricity because wiring in and adding it to a little garden would have cost , money and require challenges as the electric supply is often susceptible to damp.
Because there’s no plumbing or electrics it takes about one afternoon to assemble this whole thing. Obviously that would take time if you are starting to put it together from scratch but it’s relatively simple and straightforward. The hardest thing is the fact the sink was so heavy!
(This is not an advert for the particular solar unit it’s a blog post about the ingenuity of recycling. If you’d like to make something like this I’m sure you’ll be able to find an appropriate solar pump locally where you live.)
a blog by a multilingual expat-since-birth, linguist, researcher, mum of three, living in the Netherlands and writing about bilingualism, multiculturalism, parenting abroad, international life...