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Hort in the Home Landscape

A blog devoted to sharing timely horticulture topics and answering the questions of gardeners and homeowners.
2013-05-20 22 04 26

How to Make Your Own Rain Barrel

The drought of 2012 took a great toll not only on the plants in the garden but also on the gardener's wallet.

It was tough for some gardeners to decide which plants to water and which to let survive on their own. Unfortunately, if a gardener did decide that watering was absolutely essential, they likely saw an increased water bill the next month.

This year, putting in a rain barrel or multiple rain barrels could be an excellent way to reduce this rise in the water bill.

Rain barrels come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and styles that are available in the garden center or from catalogs. All are basically the same setup: a container to hold the water, a point into which water from the downspout can be directed, and a spigot to allow water to be removed. Connectors and diverters may also be included.

These barrels can also range greatly in price, from as low as 50 dollars up to over 150 dollars.

A more economical option is to make a rain barrel. For about 20 dollars in supplies, one can make a rain barrel using a trash can or recycled plastic barrel, a spigot, washers, nuts, sealant, landscape fabric, and some basic tools. All these items can be purchased at the local hardware store.

Drill a hole near the base of the trash can into which the spigot is inserted, using the sealant to ensure a good water tight seal. The nut is then inserted onto the threads of the spigot from the inside of the barrel, ensuring that the spigot fits tightly. A hole cut in the top of the barrel's lid allows water from the downspout to enter. Landscape fabric can also be placed underneath the lid to prevent mosquitoes from entering and laying eggs.

See the following handout for detailed instructions and pictures:

I recently spoke with a gardener who participated in Extension's rain barrel workshop last summer and has since put in five rain barrels around his house.

This gardener was able to reduce his water bill significantly by using these barrels and has plans to put in more. The small amount of work expended to make a simple rain barrel can really pay off in the long run!

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Your How to Handout is great!!
by Ron Wolford on Thursday 5/23/2013

Thanks Ron!
by Candice Miller on Thursday 5/23/2013