Rain water saving
for me the use of rain water from the water butt in the garden - 0.77 cu.m from a roof area of 27.72 sq.m at 45° facing south - has meant that in the last quarter my bill fell to a consumption of only 1 cubic metre from the water mains!
Thinking of laying down a patio over your town garden - think again
White, concrete or shiny surfaces reflect heat back into the atmosphere. Therefore, when you are sitting out on the patio, you are liable to get hotter than you are comfortable with, as are your plants; and you will be returning more heat to the atmosphere. Agricultural research on yards for livestock, in the tropics (1970s), found that Bos taurus cattle e.g. Friesians on concrete, tend to develop skin and udder cancers, whereas their more heat tolerant Bos indicus relatives do not. But both do best on a baked brown earth - nature's solution to the problem.
Heat-wise you would be more comfortable with a non-reflective soft covering - GRASS!
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