How to Make a Rain Barrel

Want to save water and money, and also have much water available for use to create a better garden or lawn? You can save a substantial amount of money in a season by using a rain barrel. A rain barrel will assist you greatly in your way to go green by allowing you to use the collected water to water the lawn, garden, or even houseplant. You can use rainwater to wash your vehicles also, but we don’t recommend to use rainwater for drinking or cooking.

The basic idea is to attach a barrel to a downspout on your home and access the collected water using a spigot. You can set up a rain barrel with basic items that you can find at your local hardware store. The money and time it takes to set up a rain barrel together are well worth it because of its environmental benefits and the long term financial savings that will come from having this tool in your yard.

Choosing barrel

You can use plastic barrels. To be used as a rain barrel, plastic barrel fit the criteria and can be newly purchased, but you can find many secondhand just for a fraction of the cost of a new one. Wherever you get it, just make sure it is a food-grade barrel, so it doesn’t pass on any residual containments into your lawn or garden.

Things You Will Need To Make a Rain Barrel

  • Plastic barrel with a screw-top lid
  • two 3/4″ male iron pipe x 3/4″ male hose thread garden hose adapters
  • one 3/4″ threaded boiler drain
  • three 3/4″ female iron pipe adapters
  • six 1 3/4″ reducing washers
  • 2 feet of window screen
  • one tube silicone sealant
  • Two cinder blocks
  • four 3/4″ screws
  • adjustable drain spout diverter
  • drill with a 1-inch bit, 3-inch hole saw a bit
  • adjustable wrench
  • utility knife
How to Make a Rain Barrel

Add a Faucet

A faucet can be used to attach a garden hose or to fill up watering cans. To create a faucet, from the base of the barrel measure 1 foot and use a 1-inch drill bit to drill a hole. If there is any excess plastic in the edges of the hole, trim it using a razor blade.

Insert the Spigot

Use silicon to coat the boiler drain thread and fit it firmly into the hole up until the base of the spigot reaches the barrel. If necessary, put a tightly fitting rubber washer over the thread. It will help to prevent leakage and hold the appliance in place.

Over the rubber washer, apply a bead of waterproof sealant then inject the spigot into the hole. After the sealant is dry run a rubber washer then a metal washer onto the barrels inside thread of the spigot.  

Adding a Drain

Add a bottom drain and a garden hose adapter in the bottom drain so that you can cap it, then entirely drain the barrel whenever needed. You can use it as a permanent hose attachment. From the base of the barrel, measure 2 inches and directly beneath the boiler drain drill a 1-inch hole. Use silicon to coat a 3/4-inch garden hose adapters thread and use an adjustable wrench to fix it into the hole. And with the boiler drain, a silicon-coated washer should be used between the barrel exterior and the adapter of a weaker barrel.

Create an Overflow Port

From the bottom of the lid, measure down two inches and drill a 2-inch hole. Use silicon to coat hose adapter thread and use wrench to attach it into the hole. You can connect a hose to this port and divert the overflowing water to your desired location.

Attach the Iron Pipe Adapters

Use silicon to coat three washers then place them on the threads of both hose adapter and the boiler drain, inside the barrel. Attach female iron pipe adapters onto the hose and boiler adapter threads using an adjustable wrench. This will work as a partner to tighten up the assemblies from the outside. Turn till you set it firmly, but be careful, to avoid cracking don’t over tighten.

Create the Top Filter

Draw perpendicular lines on the barrel’s lid with a pencil, intersect in the middle. Cut four holes using a 3-inch hole saw center on drawn lines and equal distance from edge and center the of the lid.

Now, over the lid, lay a piece of window screen. Use a utility knife to trim it to the size of the top. And to secure the filter, screw the lid’s outer ring in place.

Place Your Rain Barrel

You have done the hard work, now all you need to do is take your rain barrel to the installation site. Position it in a place where it will be most convenient for you to use it—clear rocks and debris from the ground. Place the cinder blocks side by side, level them. On top of the blocks, place the rain barrel and make sure it rests steady and level. Use the cinder blocks to stabilize the barrel, it will be easy to fill up a watering can, and its height will allow gravity to push out water with better force through an attached hose. And another vital thing to remember is, a full rain barrel weighs a lot, so make sure you place it on something that can take its weight. Don’t put it in a place where it can do damage if knocked over. 

Install the Drainpipe Diverter

Attach the diverter with the drainpipe then route it to the rain barrel. It’s not necessary to attach the diverter to the rain barrel. You can just place it on top of the barrel.

Using Rain Barrel

After a good rain, when your rain barrel is filled, you can load a watering can using the boiler drain. You can also connect a hose, which will allow easy watering around the yard. This will make your watering convenient as well as economical.

Caring for Your Rain Barrel

The screen should prevent the accumulation of debris in the barrel, and it will also protect mosquito larvae. If mosquitoes cause any problem, add two tablespoons of vegetable oil in the water, this will prevent the forming of worms. Keep the screen free of debris and leaves.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.