Water is such a precious resource that we often take advantage of its easy access in our homes. We take the highly accessible faucets in our homes for granted. One eco-friendly way to obtain water is by collecting rain water. Collecting rain water is a lot easier than you think and there are numerous benefits involved.

Here are the supplies you will need to build a backyard rain barrel:

  • Large Garbage Can
  • Tube of Watertight Sealant or Roll of Teflon tape for plumbing
  • 2 Rubber Washers
  • 2 Metal Washers
  • 1 Hose Clamp
  • 1 Spigot
  • Drill
  • Landscaping fabric
  • Shovel
  • Level
  • Cinder Blocks (Optional)

Step 1

Find your garbage cans future home next to a downspout. Use a shovel and level to dig up a flat, stable surface.

Step 2

Use a few cinder blocks to give the barrel some height. This does two things:

  1. When the spigot is installed at the bottom of the barrel there will be enough room to fit a watering can or bucket underneath.
  2. It increases water pressure for a hose hookup.

Step 3

Using your drill, create a hole for the spigot. Be sure the hole is near the bottom of your garbage can. Use a drill bit that is smaller or the same size as your spigot.

Step 4

Insert the metal washer onto the threaded end of the spigot, then put a fitting rubber washer over the threads to help hold the washer in place to prevent any leaking.

Step 5

Apply waterproof sealant over your rubber washer and place the spigot into the hole. Once the sealant dries, run a rubber washer, followed by a metal washer onto the threads of the spigot inside the barrel. Secure the spigot inside your barrel with the hose clamp.

Step 6

Next, cut a hole on the lid of the barrel. This hole will sit under your home’s downspout, so the water runs right into it.

Step 7

To prevent mosquitoes or other bugs from getting into the water, cut a piece of landscaping fabric to sit over the top. Then put the lid over the top of it to secure it.

Step 8

Now place your rain barrel on the cinder blocks and wait for the rain!

Soon you will learn that there are many benefits of collecting rain water. First off, rainwater is better for your plants and soil. Compared to tap water, rainwater is highly oxygenated and free of salts and inorganic ions. In times of a drought or a water restriction, you will already have your own water source. Maybe the biggest benefit of having your own water source is the reduction of your water bill. According to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, garden and lawn watering accounts for 40 percent of residential water use during the summer. Preserving your own water may save 1,300 gallons of water during the growing season.  So before the next rain storm happens, think of building a rain barrel!