Saturday, April 11, 2009

Rain Barrel 101

So, I made myself a rain barrel at Invoke Yoga Studio's Go Green Rain Barrel Workshop! :) I even drilled (most) of the holes myself...I was a little wary of drilling the hole for the 3/4 inch spout because it had to be just right or the spout wouldn't fit in right. Was actually pretty easy to make and I can't wait to go out and buy myself a 7/8 drill bit, water sealant caulking, a female connector - which you cannot see in this picture as it is inside the barrel connected to the other end of the spout, screen and a few more food-grade barrels (which is the hard part to find, I guess). So, if anyone knows where I can get my hands on a few (3-4 more) let me know!

I want to set up a system of barrels on the west side of the house, inside the fence - under our downspout. That side is always mucky when it rains and we never use that I think a few rain barrels would be perfect! We can connect the rain barrels through the over flow hole I made at the top of the barrel - you can see it in the picture above - using a connector and some hosing. The thing I need to remember is to stagger the height of the barrels using a foundation of bricks or concrete blocks and stagger the over flow holes in each additional barrel so it is lower than the first connecting barrel..and, of course, to insert a spout on each additional barrel.

(Here's a visual of how barrels can be connected - see how they are at different heights? Image from

(Here's a picture that illustrates how my rain barrel will work - see how the down spout is raised so it just pours in? And how the rain barrel itself is raised on a layer of brick to increase water pressure through gravity. Image from :

Not so excited about the color - but we were told that we could use clear plastic primer to coat the barrels and then paint them whatever color we choose, though I have a vision of creating some sort of lattice screen with some sort of climbing flower or plant.

To get the water out, you can attach any sort of hose, soaker or otherwise, or simple fill a watering can. As long as the barrel is raised on top of a layer or two of concrete blocks or bricks you will have enough water pressure to reach the end of your hose - though of course it won't be anything crazy - but we were told it does reach the end of a soaker hose.

Another thing to note is what to do with the barrels in the winter season. You will definitely want to empty the barrel of any water as the barrel will expand and probably sustain damage if the water freezes inside.

Woohoo! We have our first rain barrel!! I love going green! First recycling, then our compost bin and now our rain barrels! Love it!!


Electronic Goose said...

That's awesome that you made your own! I agree about the icky color of most of those barrels, but so cool to save water AND money!

PS: Word verification is "wedly." Made me laugh. Is that like an adverb for married? I am a wedly woman.

Nadine said...

Neat! Congrats on your new water barrel. :-)