- Large plastic barrel
- Spray paint
- Drill bit
- Hose spigot
- Silicone plumbing tape
- Zip ties
- Bricks or landscape pavers
- Flexible downspout
First you will need a large barrel. I was able to pick one up from a local car wash for $15. Thoroughly rinse out the barrel, then let it dry.
Next, decide if you want to paint your rain barrel. Mine is in a location where it is visible to my neighbors, so I decided to give it a coat of spray paint. Painting has the added benefit of keeping sunlight out of the barrel, which will help reduce algae growth.
Once the paint has dried, use a drill bit to drill a hole near the bottom of the barrel. Make sure that the hole you create is no larger than the thread on the hose spigot.
Wrap a piece of silicone plumbing tape around the thread of the hose spigot.
Screw the hose spigot into the hole in the barrel. It should fit snugly without any leaks.
Note^If you have any leaking around the spigot, you can reinforce the seal with some clear silicone caulk.
Remove 1 of the screw-on caps from the barrel. Cut a piece of screen that is about 1 inch larger than the opening all the way around.
Use a zip tie to secure the screen to the opening of the barrel, then trim away the excess zip tie with scissors. The screen is important to keep debris and mosquitoes out of the rain barrel.
Find a level spot near a downspout where you will place your rain barrel. Stack a few bricks or landscape pavers to elevate the rain barrel. Place the empty rain barrel on top of the pavers.
Use a hack saw to cut off the downspout above the rain barrel.
Attach the flexible tubing to the downspout, then position the other end over the opening in the rain barrel.
The opening on the flexible tubing was just slightly larger than the barrel opening, so I used a zip tie to compress it and make it small enough to fit over the opening.
Add some pretty flowers to the top of the barrel for decoration, then wait for the next rainfall to begin harvesting your own rain water.
Rain barrel tips^
- Rain barrel water should be for landscaping use only.
- To keep algae at bay, you can add a few drops of bleach to your rain barrel. Once it is diluted it should not be harmful to your garden.
- If you live in a cold climate, empty your rain barrel during a cold snap to avoid cracking from freezing water.