How To Incorporate Water Tanks Into Your Landscape Design

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Water tanks might appear that they belong several feet into the air on scaffolding but this setup requires setting aside a separate budget for building the steel frame. Big businesses can afford it, but the average household can’t. Plus, the sight of each house having towering water tanks might not be appealing to some.

These days, water tanks have become creative, designed to hug walls, blend in with the landscape, or disappear from plain sight entirely. And all the while, they can store enough water for a house’s use and save on the next water bill. One homeowner in Australia even disguised his underground water tank into a putting green on the surface.

There’s no need to fret about water tanks being unsightly. Should your home need one to cut on your water consumption, here are a few points to consider:

Above or Below

Water tanks can be installed in one of two ways: above-ground or underground. Knowing the pros and cons of each type is the first step.

An above-ground setup places the water tank on the surface, meaning it will be visible to everyone. These tanks require way less digging, if any, than underground tanks, making them easier to install. When collecting rainwater, the tanks are situated closer to runoff channels, requiring less pipeage. Homes with limited space can have this setup, as there are tanks that can hug the walls.

Meanwhile, an underground setup hides the tank several meters below the surface, up to 1.3 m. Like above-ground tanks, these tanks are also suitable for homes with limited space, installed near where runoff drains converge like driveways. Since it deals with external forces from all directions, sturdy materials like concrete or reinforced plastic are used to construct these tanks.

For the cons, an above-ground tank is more vulnerable to damage caused by accidents and storms. Without adequate insulation lining, the water inside the tank might get warm come summer and freeze come winter. Since the tanks need to fit in limited spaces, they can only hold less water than their underground counterparts.

Likewise, installing an underground tank will require quite an investment, mainly for the required excavation work. While more insulated to the elements, the tank will be impossible to inspect for problems unless you dig a hole. They also require a pump system to deliver water into the building, itself an additional expense.

So, to summarize the pros and cons:

  • Above-ground tanks require less time, materials, and money to install.
  • Underground tanks are more durable due to the immense pressures they need to withstand.
  • Above-ground tanks are more vulnerable to damage and changes in the weather.
  • Underground tanks are more expensive and more difficult to inspect for problems.
  • Both tanks can adapt to properties with limited space in different ways.

Most providers such as The Water Tank Factory perform both above-ground and underground tank installations. Asking professional services for help with your choice is recommended.

Backyard with water tank of Australian townhouse

Adapt or Change

Your choice of a water tank will determine how it should fit into your property.

Despite their drawback of being exposed to the elements, there are several creative ways to protect above-ground tanks. The simplest is to paint the tank exterior the same color as the property for a beautiful finish. Paint provides a layer of protection against corrosion, a common headache among homeowners near the sea or desert. Some even paint murals in their tank for that extra aesthetic.

The tank can also be enclosed in mesh or screen fencing for added protection. From there, you can cover it further with low-cost materials like bamboo and wood to add beauty to your garden. Some tanks can be covered in fruit-bearing vines such as tomatoes and grapes. Don’t forget to make the fencing easy to remove for access to the tank.

Planting shrubbery in front of the tank is also a simple concealment method, ideal for tanks placed where the sun shines. Choose plants that can withstand and thrive to all-day exposure to sunlight.  

Partially burying the above-ground tank is also an option, but it requires more meticulous planning. As part of the tank will experience additional external pressure, any tank that’s not durable enough to handle the pressure will buckle. Experts recommend a depth of no more than a meter for partially burying the tank; otherwise, you’re better off with an underground tank.

However, for an underground tank, the entire landscape will need to change to accommodate one. New houses under construction can plan for installing the tank beforehand, minimizing the change to the planned-for landscape. For existing houses, some plants may need to be relocated to allocate enough space for the excavation.

Consider turning your landscape into a rain garden to maximize rainwater collection. This type of garden catches runoff from driveways and roofs, allowing it to sink into the earth rather than enter the sewage. Placing pipes in strategic locations around the rain garden will fill the water tank faster. As long as it has a well-placed overflow pipe, there’s no need to worry about the tank overflowing.

The rain garden, especially with a tank installed, is ideal for homes growing fruits and vegetables. With their own water supply, families can grow a myriad of products from the comfort of their rain garden, saving on water and groceries.


Perhaps the most important thing to remember about water tanks is that they’re not eyesores. With water becoming increasingly scarce in parts of the world, people will take any method to help them save every drop they can. A water tank standing next to a house will be a sight for sore eyes in the trying times to come, regardless of its looks.

Still, giving a tank a creative twist never hurt any homeowner. Apart from the methods outlined in this piece, there are plenty more ways to incorporate water tanks into landscapes. It’s only a matter of how imaginative you can get in the design. Don’t hesitate to beautify your tank, as long as your touches won’t impede its function.