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Lawn & Garden

Making – or purchasing – one or more rain barrels will help you conserve water and prevent at least some run-off from your home’s roof into the storm water system. This is a perfect project if you like to garden.

Making a rain barrel is a simple project once you have assembled your tools and hardware. You will need:

-55 gallon plastic, food quality barrel
-Drill with various drill bits
-Plumbing/hose hardware: overflow adapter pipe
-Water proof caulk
-Seven-inch square piece of plastic screen material

  • Obtain a 55 gallon plastic, food quality barrel. Container companies (look on line or in your area phone book) are a good source to purchase a barrel. Some food manufacturers may also let you have one. Don’t use metal barrels (they’ll rust) or any barrel that has contained anything other than food.
  • Cut a six inch hole in the top of the barrel with a 6 inch hole saw, saber or drywall saw. You will want to fit a piece of screen over the opening to keep out leaves and debris.
  • Drill an overflow hole about two-to-three inches from the top of the barrel. The exact size of the hole will depend on the overflow pipe hardware you purchase. Match the size of the hardware to the drill bit as closely as you can. Generally, a 1 ½ inch keyhole drill bit can be used – you may have to file the hold slightly larger to accommodate the overflow pipe, but you want a snug fit. Screw the threaded end of the overflow pipe into the opening you created, keeping it straight.
  • Drill a second hole an inch or so from the bottom of the barrel. Again, match the drill bit to the size of the spigot pipe. A 15/16 inch drill bit should be about right. The spigot will come with gaskets which will help form a seal between the barrel and the actual faucet. Dab a bit of water proof caulk on the gaskets to ensure your hole will be leak-proof, then insert the spigot.
  • Elevate the barrel about 12-15 inches to increase gravity flow of the water from the spigot and also to fit a watering can beneath it. You can use a pair of cinder blocks.
  • Finally, measure the height of the elevated barrel, then cut your gutter pipe accordingly so that the end of the gutter pipe rests right above your six-inch intake hole.
  • Always keep the lid safely on your rain barrel so it will not pose a safety hazard to young children. Use the water you collect to irrigate your garden beds and water your house plants. The water is not for drinking for humans or pets!


Article courtesy of Briggs & Stratton