Flashback: Easy Backyard Graywater System

Energy & Sustainability
Flashback: Easy Backyard Graywater System

With gardening season upon us, it’s time to revisit the “Easy Backyard Graywater System” by Tim Drew from MAKE Volume 13. Everyone has to do laundry, so why not use your laundry water to get a lush garden. Better for the environment and better for your pocketbook. Basically, the prerequisites are that you have to have a proper recycling system and use biodegradable detergent (and not be washing diapers). Tim was retrofitting his basement and moved the laundry machines to the back carport, which was conveniently at a slightly higher elevation than their adjacent garden.

From the article:
“The basic design involves a 2"ABS standpipe that runs down from the washer and connects to a gently sloping horizontal pipe buried under a garden path. At the other end, the water splits and travels a bit farther in 2 directions, then flows out through perforated pots and bark chip mulch, and into the soil beneath some water-loving plants and trees.”

Here’s the left branch and irrigation terminal before Tim buried it:


The irrigation outlet with the cover off:


And Tim’s lovely plants near the irrigation outlet:


Here’s the full article in our Digital Edition so you can get started. Pick up Volume 13 in the Maker Shed for tons more projects, including the Boom Stick, Toy Music Sequencer, a Smart Structure, growing giant pumpkins, raising chickens, tons of magic tricks and props, a car camera mount, internal explosion engine, analog meter clock, and more.

Keep your eyes peeled for Volume 18, due out in mid-May, our DIY Energy issue!

2 thoughts on “Flashback: Easy Backyard Graywater System

  1. Art Ludwig says:

    Found this page while looking for GW images.

    Here’s free design for a new DIY system that’s even simpler, cheaper, higher performance:


    For complete info on all aspects of greywater check out this book:


Comments are closed.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at snowgoli@gmail.com or via @snowgoli.

View more articles by Goli Mohammadi


Maker Faire Bay Area 2023 - Mare Island, CA

Escape to an island of imagination + innovation as Maker Faire Bay Area returns for its 15th iteration!

Buy Tickets today! SAVE 15% and lock-in your preferred date(s).