Gray Water Gets Stylish

February 7, 2013 | By | Comments (12)

Photograph by Jennifer Cheung 

Most Western gardeners these days strive for sustainability, incorporating eco-friendly elements like low-water plantings, permeable paving, composting systems, and furniture made from recycled lumber. But there’s a new eco must-have on the block: Grey water.

Quick definition: Grey water diverts water from sinks, showers, or laundry to hydrate the garden. And while, at one point in time, this may have conjured up images of hippies with buckets under their sinks, this is no longer the case. Eased permitting processing—led by the West—and the knowledge that, surprise, water is a resource we’re short on, has paved the way for grey water to come into the mainstream.

Also helping it along: Badass designers like Jeremy Levine, who incorporate greywater systems in almost every house/garden they design. That garden up above? That’s Levine’s own backyard, watered with 100% grey water. Between kitchen sink, bathroom sink, and the shower, Levine diverts 30 gallons of water each day for garden irrigation. So impressive.

Want to learn more? Here are two of my very favorite greywater prosthelytizers:


  1. Celina

    I’m definitely jumping on this grey water craze, I mean who wouldn’t? You save water, you save the environment and (best of all) you save money.
    I’m looking into buying a new house with the grey water system already put in rather than a laundry to landscape
    Something along the lines of this company:

    It’s a lot more affordable than the other grey water systems out there and the water is actually potable which saves me from having to separate my edible gardens and ornamental landscape. Also I like how the maintenance is simple so even a newbie like me can diagnose and fix a problem.

    Anyone else have any experience with another grey water system out there?

    July 10, 2015 at 4:48 pm
  2. How to Use Laundry Water in Your Garden | A blog by Sunset

    […] course, bonafide fully legal plumbing systems can be installed to move gray water from laundry machine (or shower) to garden. And if I were building or remodeling, I’d install […]

    April 15, 2015 at 11:21 am
  3. sybellasgarden

    Okay i live in Nevada! Does anyone know anyone doing this in Northern Nevada? I want to retrofit the house we are buying . Thouhjts? No i am NOT doing it myself!

    April 15, 2015 at 5:56 am
  4. Russti

    I thought kitchen sick water is black water not grey water, and cannot be re-used/recycled.

    April 13, 2015 at 2:00 am
  5. Maxwell

    These are definitely the most stylish grey water recycling products out there!


    September 2, 2013 at 11:57 pm
  6. Maxwell

    These are definitely the most stylish grey water recycling products out there! http//

    September 2, 2013 at 11:51 pm
  7. solar power iphone charger

    Can I take portion of your article to my blog? The info has been so very much appreciated!

    June 24, 2013 at 12:29 pm
  8. Joe

    It’s great to see grey water being talked about and used in Gardens. We’ve used many other techniques to help save water like including an ET manager before.

    March 28, 2013 at 1:35 pm
  9. Rhea Snider

    i like the schematic drawing of the system. Would have a shut off valve for the watering system in the winter so the grey water would go direct to sewer or septic system. Water lines are 6 foot deep to prevent freezing. The Northern West would benefit from this.

    February 12, 2013 at 8:05 pm
  10. Johanna Silver

    Elizabeth — Great question. If you are going to install a system, you need to use certain products that are friendly. Here are some resources:

    Good luck!

    February 11, 2013 at 3:38 pm
  11. Elizabeth Oliver

    What about the soap and detergeant? Isn’t that bad for the environment?

    February 11, 2013 at 5:17 am
  12. Charlie

    I have started to use rainwater to irrigate my yar. Your post has inspired my interest to expand this to look at graywater as a resource.

    February 7, 2013 at 9:17 pm

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