DIY Rain Barrel
Every garden needs water to survive. However, during the summer, many homes with small gardens and large gardens alike dedicate up to 40 percent of their household water just for lawn maintenance.
Not only can this get expensive for your monthly water bill, but it is also not an environmentally sustainable way of tending to your garden.
One of the easiest ways to keep your garden flourishing while also keeping your water bill low as well as participating in water conservation is by using a rain barrel. These are containers that collect rain water using a downspout adapter coming from your roof or rain gutter, directed into the rainwater barrel through a diverter.
Rainwater is then filtered through a piece of screen on top of the can so there is no debris mixed into the excess water.
Rain barrels can be constructed in a variety of ways. Still, they serve the same purpose of collecting rainwater to decrease your household’s impact on local waterways and to become a good steward of the local watershed.
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Homemade rain barrels don’t have to be difficult. I made my own DIY rain barrel for my front porch from an old black plastic garbage can and landscape cloth (since it’s useless against weeds, I might as well get some use out of it.).
I placed the can directly under my gutter, and I cut a piece of landscape cloth to cover it. I used a couple of bungee cords to hold the cloth in place – and that’s it for my DIY rain barrel system – it is almost always full! Which means I always have gallons of water on hand at all times.
The rain is filtered through the cloth and keeps mosquitoes from laying eggs in it. The bungee cord holds the fabric in place. I remove the fabric and fill my watering can to water my vegetable garden and replace the cloth.
Here’s another method you can use to make one for your home:
Step 1: Choose a Barrel
Plastic rain barrels to store rainwater can be purchased in gardening, hardware stores, and home improvement stores. However, you can also use recycled materials for a fraction of the cost of a new one.
You can use food-safe shipping functional rain barrels with a storage capacity of 55 gallons to prevent contaminants from leaching into your garden beds.
Alternatively, you can also use second-hand wooden barrels if you don’t want to use plastic for your food-grade barrels.
Step 2: Create a Top Hole
Using a skimmer basket as a guide, trace a circle and pre-drill a small hole using 1″ spade bit, making sure to drill inside the line. Use a jigsaw to cut out a hole using the inside line as a guide.
Step 3: Prepare a Filtering Basket
Cut a piece of fiberglass window screen to fit the skimmer basket. Affix the screen to the lip of the basket using silicone caulk or plumbing sealant. Allow several hours to dry and place on the top hole.
Step 4: Make a Lower Drain
For the next step, mark holes at least two inches from the bottom of the recycled barrel. Use a 1″ drill bit to drill the hole. Screw a plastic faucet into the hole and use a utility knife, as needed, to increase the hole size.
Remove the faucet, wrap threads in Teflon tape, caulk threads, replace the faucet. Caulk the area where the faucet and barrel meet to ensure no leakage.
Step 5: Make Upper Drain
Mark holes at least two inches from the top of the decorative rain barrel. Use a 1″ drill bit to drill the hole. Screw the plastic faucet into the hole and use a utility knife as needed to alter the hole.
Wrap 3⁄4″ coupling threads in Teflon tape and caulk and screw onto faucet inside the rescue rain barrel.
Step 6: Attach Hoses
Cut 2′ section of plastic hose and then push each end of the hose into a hose coupler and tighten screws—screw 3′ section onto top outflow faucet and 2″ section to bottom the faucet. Trace a hole for the basket.
Step 7: Finishing Touches
Build a base using cinder blocks or concrete blocks to elevate the modern rain barrel. Adjust the end of your downspout to have the water flow into the homemade rain barrel.
Always keep the overflow hose or overflow valve open on your attractive rain barrels. And that’s how to make your own rain barrel.
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Tips for Using Rain Barrels
- Cover the top basket with the screen, and make sure that all other openings are secured to prevent mosquitoes and other disease-carrying insects from entering the attractive rain barrel
- Make sure your barrel for no matter the rain barrel design is clean and free of chemicals before using
- Disconnect the rustic rain barrel from the bottom of the downspout during winter months to avoid the formation of damaging ice
- During severe storms, it may be necessary to open both valves to prevent overflow.
Do you have a rain barrel? How did you make your own rain barrels? Share with us in the comments below.
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