Rain Barrels - How to Begin
So this is the year you are going to install your rain barrel.
Here are tips on how to get started:
People set up rain barrels for a variety of reasons:
- to collect 'free' water for their plants,
- to store water for dry times when it hasn't rained and your plants are thirsty,
- to solve a drainage problem,
- to lower water bills or to get a discount on their water bills (check with your provider to see if that's an option for you)
So keep your use in mind when beginning your rain barrel search and setup.
1. Choose your site - near the house, attached to a shed, by the garage, on a patio???
Most barrels are attached to down spouts on a house, garage, or shed so your intended use will determine location Make sure your site is flat and level. This is important because rain barrels can weigh up to 500 lbs when full so you want to be sure they are stable. And, unless you are using a rain barrel pump, you need to elevate the barrel at least by 12 inches. That will help increase the flow of water. To elevate the barrel, you can build a stand with cement blocks, pavers or rot resistant lumber. Or, you can purchase a rain barrel stand that may match the color of your barrel.
2. Choose your barrel
Decide on Size - 50 gallons and 65 gallons are the most popular sizes.
Decide on Color and Shape - barrel shape, urn shape, rectangular, flat back, terra cotta, tan, brown, black, green - your choices are many.
3. Determine how you will handle overflow of water.
In a heavy rain, rain barrels fill up quickly and if your barrel is near the foundation of your home, you don't want that overflow hitting your foundation. Rain Barrel diverter kits are available for this purpose. Some barrels are even designed with their own overflow methods.
4. Assemble your stand and barrel at your site.
You'll want to do this before attaching (cutting) your downspout.
5. Attach to downspout.
Cutting the down spout may be required or attaching tubing from barrel to downspout are the two most common methods, but this will be determined by how you will handle over flow of water. Most barrels come with set up directions to help you with this step.
6. Relax and let the rains come. You'll soon have plenty of free water for your outdoor uses.