The only place for the water harvesting tank was right by the back door, near where we like to sit every afternoon and evening on warm days – and I have an aversion to plastic in my view!
So we decided to cover it to blend in with the granite hill that borders this yard.
After roughly leveling the area, wetting it and tamping it down, we placed the tank, replacing softer earth at the corners with strong stones. (See above.)
Next, we wrapped the tank with 1/4″ hardware cloth, fastened with scrap wire and attached to the wall with screws, then used trowels to cover the form with mortar mix.
I would have loved to have used adobe instead and foregone the use of concrete (high energy footprint), but the hillside is pale gray granite, very similar in color to dried mortar mix, so it was a natural.
On top of the aluminum frame, we slid scrap plywood and wedged small cans under the hardware cloth near the center to lift it so rainwater will shed and not pool on top.
Below is the first coat of mortar mix. You’ll notice we redesigned the water inlet from the gutter, so that it doesn’t cross in front of the window (better feng shui). All the downspout/input materials were found at the hardware store. You’ll notice an overflow fairly high on the corner – not ideal, but workable. It empties into a swale carved into the stone hill and paved with more stones to travel neatly around the tank.
The finish plan: when the mix has begun to set, we’ll use chunks of granite stone to impress the mix with the texture of the stone you see on the hill right behind the tank. Then we’ll slice a few “cracks” to match those on the hill.
Watch for a workshop soon to finish the tank. Photos will be posted.