Rain Barrels: Use Natural Water!

It seems like the cost of everything is going up these days. But by doing a little work and giving up some space on your property, you can save yourself a lot of money on your water bill without having to sacrifice a beautiful, lush garden and lawn. Many people are starting to realize how useful it is to have rain barrels.

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Use Mother Nature to Your Advantage

While you and your family can’t safely drink or cook with rainwater unless it’s been properly filtered and treated, your plants are happy to raise the glass with whatever Mother Nature sends. Rainwater can also be used for chores like washing the car or rinsing dirt off the house’s siding.

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You can connect multiple barrels together to allow you to meet all of your outdoor watering needs. But whether you’re putting out one barrel or 20, you need to make sure they are level and secure, so they won’t tip over. Not only do you want to keep anyone from getting hurt (when full, the barrels will be extremely heavy!), but you also don’t want an accidental flood.

Gravity Fed Rain Barrels

A gravity-feed system is the simplest route you can go. The higher your barrels are, the more pressure you’ll have. Some people will build a permanent elevated structure for this purpose, but if you want to go that route, check with your municipality, because you might need a permit.

You’ll need to position your rain barrel so that the downspout from your gutters feeds into it. You need to keep your gutters clear. You also need to have a filter on the rain barrel, to prevent leaves, bugs, grit from your shingles, etc. from washing into the barrel. Make sure you clean the filter out regularly, too.

Rain barrels fill up a lot more quickly than you might expect, so be sure to include an overflow pipe. This needs to be positioned so the excess water will run off away from any buildings – you don’t want to create a flooding issue for you or your neighbours.

Money Saver, but an Eye Sore….

rain barrels BigYellowBag Black Garden Soil Big Yellow BagDespite being very economical, rain barrels aren’t the prettiest thing you can have in your garden. So be sure to consider the aesthetics before you install your rain barrel system. If you can’t choose a different location and you really don’t want to be looking at them, you can mask them by putting a fence or screen around them. Just be sure to give yourself room to maneuver – you don’t want to have it so tight that you have to remove all of the barrels to reach the one at the back if there’s a problem!

There are a lot of videos online that can show you how to install your own rain barrel system, and we strongly recommend you check them out.

Cameron Shimoda

Garden and Soil Enthusiast