Did you know that for every inch of rainfall, the roof of a 1,500-square-foot home could collect and drip down about 900 gallons of water? That’s a lot of wasted water. Imagine if you can catch that water and use it for your flowers and plants instead. Well, you can! And by making your own rain barrel, you’ll save money in the process.
First, you’ll need something to collect the rain in. You can transform any large (55-gallon) plastic container, such as a garbage can, into a rain barrel. Just make sure it’s food-safe – meaning your bin never had any solvents or chemicals in it. Try hardware stores or restaurant suppliers, who often sell food-grade bins, a farmer’s market, where you might find one that contained olives, or home brewing stores which often sell reasonably priced barrels. Choose one with a closed lid, so mosquitoes don’t mistake it for a place to breed!
You’ll need some plumbing hardware and a couple of hours to assemble your rain barrel. Check out a few of the many easy-to-follow online tutorials with step-by-step instructions that don’t require any special skills, just some elbow grease!
Be sure to place your bin near a downspout so it can collect the rain. Create a flat, stable surface by digging out the area where your barrel will sit, moving any plants as necessary. Raising your barrel above ground using a couple of cinder blocks or wooden rail ties will enable you to install a spigot at the bottom with enough room to put your watering can underneath, while also increasing the water pressure. You can also connect several barrels together to collect larger amounts of rain.
Because most bins aren’t very fancy, grab the kids and decorate your new rain barrel! You can prime and paint it to complement the exterior of your home, or have some fun and add whimsy to make your barrel a focal point in your yard.
Do you collect rainwater? Isn’t it great to be green!