Using a rain barrel is a great way to conserve water and keep your garden watered for free. 

 It saves one of our most important resources and making a rain barrel is really not that difficult.  With just a couple of simple steps you can make your own.

You will need

 a plastic barrel

 a drill, a hole bit (the size of your spigot)

 2 spigots

 a short length of flexible downspout

 2 hoses

pvc glue

and a jigsaw.

First you need to find a plastic barrel.  (We were lucky enough to be given a large plastic barrel that is used to store milk on a farm.)

Drill a hole about 6 inches from the bottom, (bring your spigots to the hardware store and find a drill bit to match the size of it)

Insert the spigot and seal it with PVC glue.

We also suggest installing a second spigot about 6 inches from the top – that way any overflow can go into a hose directed away from the house. Rain barrels fill up surprisingly fast.

If you like, put a coat or two of paint on your barrel (suitable for plastic).  Choose a color that makes it blend in well to your background.  Then you will hardly notice it while it works for you.

After you select the site for your rain barrel, cut your house downspout  about two to three feet higher than the height of the rainbarrel.     (plus the hight of the cinderblocks.)

Cut a hole in the top of the rain barrel that fits the flexible downspout.

 (*You could of course place your house downspout straight into the rain barrel if you can fit it in without being flexed a bit)

Place the rain barrel on top of a couple of cinder blocks to enhance the power of gravity for hose pressure.

 Insert the flexible downspout into the barrel and then fit the flexible downspout onto your  house downspout.

Next connect your hoses.  (We chose to put a soaker hose on the bottom spigot  so it automatically waters an area under our pine trees that is often untouched by rain.  We also added a regular hose to the top of the rain barrel spigot that will direct any water that overfills the barrel to another location that hardly gets any water.)  Or you can choose to let it fill up and use the water when you need it with a watering can or attaching a regular hose when you need it.

Now sit back and get ready to collect that free run off water that usually ends up washing away down the sewer.

This is really an easy project but if you are not a do it yourself type of person, there are many rain barrels on the market that aren’t very expensive and you can set up easily.

“Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.”  ~Roger Miller

6 Comments

  1. Great job on the rain barrel. I went to a class offered by my Cooperative Extension on rain barrels. They also mentioned adding mosquito control. If you use a couple layers of household screen or you can add chemicals to make sure they don’t breed.

  2. That is a great suggestion Spencer. Thanks for adding it.

  3. This is definitely very useful, and what i need in my area in the province, but we can’t find barrel tanks here that the top is still intact. They cut it around to fully clean the inside before selling. They are 2nd hand containers. And by the way, what do you mean by soaker hose?

  4. Wow, the one you made is great! I have the ones like the dark brown one you show that we purchased. I would have loved to make one though!

  5. Andrea, I have heard that it is sometimes hard to find one. Mine was from a farm. They stored milk in it. The hose is a soaker hose which is made of a porous material that lets the water soak through it into the ground as opposed to a regular hose. That way it can water along it’s entire length. Here is a link to the one sold at Garden Shoes Online http://www.gardenshoesonline.com/rbsoak50/Good-Ideas-Rain-Barrel-Soaker-Hose.htm.

  6. Meems, I have both kind. I have to say that having rainbarrels has been a great way to water less and save on using water. Plus I think it’s better for the plants as well. My goal is to have one on every downspout we have.

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