DIY Rain Barrels


I couldn’t hold back the tidal wave of requests to see my finished rain barrels so I decided I needed to write a post about it and include the plans I used.

**I really only had one person request it so go take a look at Koko’s blog. There’s a really yummy post about a braided bread that’ll make you want to quit your diet right now (but don’t quit, because that would be bad).

Where To Find The Plans

I found the plans for my rain barrels on Pinterest and that brought me to this article called “How to Build a Rain Barrel” so I cannot take credit for the idea, though I used a little more re-purposed materials than they did, so I made it my own in that respect. It’s not pretty by any means, but that’s some of the character.

Photo from Handyman.com

These are the plans which are extremely helpful. I actually didn’t need the article to walk me through the planning and build process because this one image is good enough to get you through it.

Lessons Learned

  • Re-Purpose materials if you can. As you can see from my pictures in the gallery, I chose to re-purpose some old pallets I had. I also got my barrels from a guy off Craigslist for $5. This part of the story I must say, be very careful about the barrels you pick. They should be food grade so you’re not getting oil or other dangerous chemicals in your rain water.
  • Inspect the barrels you choose top to bottom. The blue one I got wound up having a hole cut in the bottom. I was so mad when I found that. Luckily, I was able to flip the barrel upside down, plug the one spout hole and bam I was back in business.
  • Put your rain barrels on a slab of concrete otherwise¬†use a stand similar to my pallet design. A table like the one in the picture (above) will work great on a slab of concrete, but on dirt the table will settle and potentially sink making the stand uneven, or even cause it to collapse. You do not want 100+ gallons of water dumping out like that.
  • Make sure your stand/table is level. Completely level. This will help prevent your table from collapsing so you’re not putting too much weight on one side of the table.
  • Ensure you put your rain barrels near your gutter spouts. You’re not going to collect much rain if you aren’t taking the runoff from your roof.

Finished Product

So far, we’ve had quite a bit of spring rain, so I haven’t had to use the rain barrel system too much. The barrels fill evenly when it does rain which is awesome. The couple times I’ve been able to use the barrel, I’ve found the water pressure is pretty minimal so you’re not going to use a hose to water your plans unless you’re doing it downhill from the barrels. Our house has a walk-out which means the front yard is about a 1/2 level higher than the backyard. I can use the hose with good success to water our garden in the back, but for the front, I pretty much have to use a watering can. I’m ok with this, but don’t get false expectations that you’re going to have the same water pressure you would from your water spout.

I threw some pictures of our backyard too so you can see what all we need to water. Most of those pictures are from last year. The one with the little playhouse with the door missing is from this year. Stupid wind blew the door off so I had to fix it. Hadn’t done that yet, but it’s back on now. The panoramic shots I don’t think are going to turn out very well in the gallery, but maybe they will.

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