How to make a rain barrel

How to make a rain barrel

Use recycled materials

Rain barrels can be a real boon to spring, summer and fall gardeners…even those that continue their hobbies during the winter months indoors. Having an abundant amount of good quality natural rainwater for your household and garden plants will help them achieve maximum beautiful growth spring and summer seasons and winters too. Natural rainwater contains all the essential minerals that lawns, gardens, trees, shrubs and household plants need to grow. As long as you do not use the sediment particles that collect in the bottom of a rain barrel, those that come from your rain gutters above, your water will be just fine. Learn some tips on how to put together a rain barrel using recycled materials or parts from a home store in your area. The time you spend designing and installing your rain barrel will be well worth the effort. And it will save on your water bills. Build more than one barrel, put them in a row and connect with hoses, put water faucet taps on each barrel, so you can capture as much rainwater as possible. Get all your family and friends to do the same as you. Start today!


Step 1

Use design sketches

Follow design sketches for your particular installation of rain barrel. Use illustration sketch provided as guide. Clear area to receive rain barrel.

Place barrel directly under downspout. If necessary raise barrel on concrete blocks or bricks to level so a bucket can be placed under the hose bib (note sketch does not show hose bib- see blue rain barrel picture for location of hose bib).

Secure downspout and flex downspout parts with screw. Place screen on top of lid hole to keep out mosquitoes. Also place screen at overflow exit hole. Option: Duct tape downspout to lid to close hole in lieu of screen, same for exit hole cut in side of can.

Secure drain hose to inside of can at overflow exit hole. As stated, use duct tape to close hole and secure hose. If hose is to remain open at one end, put screen wire at hose end to prevent mosquito entry into hose.

Step 2

Use plastic jugs

Cut hole in top of plastic water can to receive drainage hose from overflow exit. Make hole larger than hose for flexibility. Cut more than one can to change when can fills up. Option: Arrange cans in series and connect with hoses so as one fills up the second, third, fourth,…etc. fill up. Place temporary duct tape over opening and hoses to prevent mosquito entry into water cans.

Step 3

Use faucet at bottom

Install hose bib (water faucet) at bottom of rain barrel. This allows easy control of removal of water from rain barrel. Raise barrel up on concrete blocks similar to picture to allow room to place bucket under faucet for filling bucket. Provide hose attachment also in case someone wants to channel rainwater to other locations in yard or garden.

Option: Connect more barrels in series by simply using hoses at hose bib to run extra hose to additional barrels.

Note: Do note use trash can with wheels as wheels will leak water. If you need to move barrel full or water do so with a dolly and get plenty of manpower, water is heavy!

Step 4

Flush out little ones!

Be sure and run out all the little critters from inside downspouts before beginning. Use a hose at roof gutter to flush out downspouts. Screw and duct tape downspout connections carefully to prevent leakage of rainwater. Use screen wire at top of downspout where it connects to gutter to minimize future critter entry and debris and sediment collecting at bottom of barrel.

Things Needed
• clean recycled trash can or one from home store
• flexible downspout sections
• sharp shears or box knife for cutting hole in can lid for downspout water entry and can side for overflow water exit and hose attachment
• drill with hole cutter attachment for hole for attaching hose bib to bottom of can
• PVC piping attachments pieces and hose bib (water faucet) for draining water from rain barrel, and silicone sealant, pipe adhesive
• plastic jugs and hose for drainage of overflow and storage of drained water from overflow
• screen wire to put over downspout entry point and overflow exit point holes to keep out mosquitios
• option: purchase rain barrel kit of parts from retail store

Tips & Warnings
• Use clean plastic trash can or recycled plastic food barrel like a vanilla plastic barrel (see video below).
• Cut holes to fit down spout and to receive drainage hose at overflow.
• Place screen over open holes to keep mosquitoes out. or duct tape close all holes as required.
• Use hose bib (water faucet) about 6″ up from bottom of barrel to let rainwater gutter sediment settle to bottom before extracting rainwater. Clean barrels when all rainwater has been removed as part of maintenance.
• Be careful when cutting with box cutters.
• Hold barrel firmly when using drill hole cutter.
• Don’t use power tools in wet environment and always use grounded plugs
• Use dolly and extra manpower to move full or partly full rain barrel. Water is extremely heavy!.


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