10 December 2022
How to screen a water tank?
Water tanks are growing in popularity here in New Zealand, especially with inconsistent rainfall over the past couple of years. We only have to go back to 2020 when Auckland was placed under very strict restrictions in terms of water consumption to see that having your own water supply could be very beneficial, both now and in the future.
Water tanks were historically used on properties where there was no access to mains water. Throughout New Zealand, you will find properties from Kaitaia to Invercargill that still have a rainwater tank sitting outside or underground, even if mains water access has since become possible.
More recently, you will find many new build properties including the installation of water tanks, typically underground for a completely new build development but also above ground where space permits.
Some district councils in New Zealand have taken things a step further and made the installation of rainwater tanks compulsory for new build projects. Gore now requires all new residential buildings to install a rainwater tank with a minimum capacity of 3,000 litres. Since 2009, Kapiti has required households in residential zones to capture rainwater for toilet flushing and outdoor use and offers homeowners a targeted rate to make the installation cheaper.
Sadly, these two district councils are the only two that are actively encouraging the collection of rainwater. In most places in New Zealand, it comes down to the individual household to think about boosting their resilience to water shortages in the future and thankfully, many households across New Zealand are taking the initiative and installing water tanks around the home.
With the growth in the number of properties installing a rainwater tank set to increase over the next 5-10 years, one of the big questions we get asked is the best way to screen your water tank.
Most retrofit water tanks are installed above ground and, in addition to needing adequate space to house the tank, also cause issues with aesthetics. Whilst the design of water tanks has definitely improved over the past decade, there is no getting away from the fact that they are still large structures and can appear very unsightly if they are not screened.
Here are five ways to screen your rainwater tank and make them look less obvious around your property.
1. Discreet location
The ideal way to screen your water tank is to find a discreet location where people don’t typically go. A common place is down the side of a house that does not get much foot traffic. The new style of water tanks that are slimline in their design is ideal for locating tight to the side of a property which helps to keep them discreet but is also an ideal place to locate a water tank for the collection of water as it will be in close proximity to the downpipes from the roof.
2. Use a natural fence line
Locating a water tank next to your property is not always possible depending on your border with your neighbouring property. Slimline water tanks, however, are very versatile and they can also be situated along a fence line in your garden. These long, slim tanks are perfect for this type of installation and can typically be matched to the height of your fence. Whilst you might need to think more carefully about the way the water is collected, this is certainly a good option from a screening perspective.
3. Use man-made screening
A popular option for large tanks that are not slimline in design is to use man-made screening such as lattices or fencing to cover your tank. You can even make a feature out of this screening to add to the overall aesthetic of your garden, improving on the design whilst providing practical screening for an unsightly water tank.
4. Use natural screening
If you are not keen on adding man-made screening or the cost is too high, you can also consider natural screening and the use of foliage to cover your water tank. These can be climber plants that are attached to some sort of man-made screen or a living “wall” that uses an espalier system where climbing plants grow up wires and eventually, the foliage grows to fill in the gaps, providing an excellent natural screen for your water tank.
5. Blend your tank into the surroundings
Installing a water tank can be an expensive business and you may not want to invest further to screen the tank. A good option, in this case, is to select a water tank that will blend into the location in which it will be situated. As well as coming in a range of designs, modern water tanks also come in a range of colours that can typically be matched the colour of your property. This can really help to “camouflage” your tank and help it to blend more naturally into its environment.