DIY: Build a Rain Barrel

Author
Take Care of Texas
Rain Barrel

Are you interested in rain water harvesting? It's relatively easy to get started. Plus, with lawn and garden watering making up 30 to 50 percent of total household water use, you can save a lot of money by using rain water.

Check out this post to learn how to build your own rain barrel in just a few hours.

Do It Yourself Rain Barrel Project

Materials

  • 55-gallon polyethylene plastic barrel
  • 3/4-inch hose spigot
  • 3/4-inch PVC closed nipple
  • window screen
  • Teflon cement
  • water hose (optional)
  • bricks or concrete blocks (optional)

Tools

  • drill with a 1-inch paddle bit
  • utility knife or jig saw

Instructions

Putting Together a Rain Barrel 2.png1. Inflow. Use the utility knife or jig saw to cut a hole in the top of the barrel approximately the same diameter as your gutter downspout.

2. Spigot. Measure 3 to 4 inches from the bottom of the barrel and drill a 1-inch hole. Screw the spigot halfway into the barrel, apply some Teflon cement to the exposed threads, and continue to twist until tight. In addition, you can use a rubber washer, metal washer, and a lock nut to more firmly secure the spigot to the barrel from the interior.

3. Overflow. Measure 3 to 4 inches from the top of the barrel and drill a 1-inch hole. Lay a small square of window screen over the hole. Twist in the 3/4-inch PVC closed nipple about one-quarter of the way, apply Teflon cement to the exposed threads in the middle portion of the coupling, and continue to screw it in, leaving 1 inch of thread exposed. Connect the hose to the pipe coupling overflow spigot at the top of the barrel. You can run this hose into another barrel or to a soaker hose (which will evenly distribute excess water and help avoid flooding).

4. Downspout. Place the barrel directly below the downspout. You will need to reconfigure the downspout to flow into the hole. If you like, place the barrel on concrete blocks or bricks. Raising the barrel will allow you to get a bucket under the spigot, and will facilitate leveling the area where your barrel will sit. Cover the hole on the top of the barrel with the window screen, to prevent sticks, rocks, or dirt from getting into it. Screens also keep mosquitoes out. Secure the screen with a few bricks or rocks to keep it in place.

5. Beautify (optional). If you prefer, you can decorate your barrel to suit your style or to camouflage it to match your existing landscape. You can paint the barrel a solid color, turn it into a work of art, or cover it with weather-proof fabric. Another option is to hide the barrel behind bushes or fencing.  

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