DIY Rain barrels to collect your own rainwater.

You know what they say, “April showers bring May flowers.” It’s that time of year again where the rain is plentiful and the plants and flowers are growing to their fullest.

Did you know that natural, fresh rainwater contains the best flourishing water for plants and flowers? Have you ever thought about conserving this water in case of a drought in the upcoming summer months? With a combination of gutters and rain barrels, you are able to save gallons of natural water for your garden, plants, or grass. Not only will this help your plants, but it can also reduce pollution, conserve water for your community, and even help you save money on your water bill!

How to create your own Rain Barrel

The great part about creating your own rain barrel is that you can custom design it to fit your needs. There are many different styles and types of rain barrels to get you started including garbage cans, large plastic drums, or even oak barrels. Before buying these at the store, make sure to ask around – many businesses including car washes, food distributors, and even vineyards will sell their used barrels for a small fee. Craigslist or other classifieds are also a great place to look for a deal.

Main Concept

The main concept behind a rain barrel is that it traps and conserves natural water for later use. A downspout that connects your gutters to the rain barrel is the most convenient and efficient way to set up a connection to your rain barrel. A hole must be cut into the top of the drum/barrel and the downspout must fit into this hole in order to drain properly. With this system, there aren’t any necessary alterations to your existing gutters, so it’s easy to replace your downspout at any time!

Hose & Nozzle

Another important feature for a rain barrel is the water spout where you will retrieve your natural water. You will want to attach a hose and a nozzle where you are retrieving this water after it is stored in the drum. A hole must be cut into either the bottom of the barrel or on the side – this is your decision where you want the water draining out of. You can find cheap nozzles at your local hardware store.


Another decision to consider is how high you want your barrel to be elevated. It is important to have a sturdy elevation due to how heavy gallons of water can become. Cement, bricks or wood are popular elevation objects.

Overflow Exit

You will also want an overflow exit attached to your rain barrel in the event of any excess water inside. This typically consists of an extra hose or pipe running vertically through the middle of your barrel, opening at the top inside the interior of the barrel, and then exiting out of the barrel.

Supplies to consider for the job:

  • 55 gallon barrel (clean garbage can or drum)
  • Pipe fitting adaptor female pipe connector
  • ¾” Hose Bibb
  • Silicone Caulk
  • An extra gutter elbow depending on your downspout
  • Hose clamp
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