Those who have a monthly water bill understand the importance of water preservation. During hot summer months, outdoor plants and gardens require extra water, but using an outdoor water source connected to a municipal water supply day after day can be very expensive. Relying on rain alone will not sufficiently water a garden in the midst of a dry hot summer. Rain barrels can help collect beneficial rain that can be used when the summer skies are fair. Rain barrels are a natural way to collect water that can be used for any nondrinking purpose, and rain barrels are beneficial for plants and flowers. Rain is rich in minerals and nutrients that municipal water supplies don’t provide, so consider making a system of rain barrels to collect rainwater for your flowers and garden. Rain barrels are the natural way to economically provide water for plants and flowers.
You can make a simple rain barrel to collect enough rain to water your flowers and garden on the hottest of summer days, or you can make a couple of rain barrels that should provide enough water to last for weeks. Rain barrels naturally replenish themselves each time it rains, so unless you live in a very dry arid location where it seldom rains, your rain barrels should constantly and consistently provide rainwater for your flowers and garden. Rain barrels not only help save money by providing free water, your flowers and gardens will thrive on the vital nutrients and minerals naturally provided.
Making a Rain Barrel
The best material for a rain barrel is plastic. Polyethylene garbage cans make perfect rain barrels. Plastic doesn’t rust, it’s easy to clean, and they are the perfect size to collect water for average outdoor watering requirements. A plastic garbage can that’s been transformed into a rain barrel also comes with a cover to help keep out insects and debris. The lid can be trimmed with a utility knife to completely surround and seal the elbow of the downspout.
A wooden barrel is also a great choice for a rain barrel. A wooden barrel is more natural in appearance and more esthetically pleasing to the landscape. A cover for a wooden rain barrel can be made from a window screen. Simply cut the screen to the proper circumference, cut a hole for the downspout, and use a heavy-duty staple gun to attach the screen to the barrel. Attach a tap to the barrel and the screen need never be removed.
After deciding on the type of rain barrel you’d like for your water collecting efforts, you’ll need to choose a location for your rain barrel. Choose a downspout on your home or garage, remove the elbow at the bottom of the downspout, and cut the downspout with a hacksaw according to the height of the rain barrel. Be cautious around the sharp metal edges of the downspout, and once trimmed, reattach the elbow to the downspout. After reattaching the elbow to the downspout, position your rain barrel beneath it. Install the lid or screen, depending on the type of rain barrel you’ve chosen, and the next rainy day will provide you with beneficial rainwater.
Landscape Around Your Rain Barrel
Consider incorporating your new rain barrel into the landscape by surrounding it with bark chips, decorative rocks, plants, shrubs, or flowers. Your rain barrel won’t be an eyesore when it’s surrounded with materials and plants that tie in with the rest of your landscape.
Add decorative charm to your rain barrel by placing items of interest nearby such as a decorative metal watering can or a concrete frog or ladybug. Your rain barrel will serve as an economical effective way to collect rainwater, and your rain barrel will be a charming and decorative addition to your home.