Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Rain Barrel Guide

We recycle everything . . . even water. Which has been especially helpful during the water restrictions in the summer months. Our city has a program where it provides rain barrels for $60. We ran down and picked one up. There were added costs, we needed a bit of piping, and some cement blocks for it to sit on but all in, it was less then $80 (+$10 for a very small used water pump, a totally optional add on, you don't need one)!
As I mentioned before where we live we have water restrictions in effect June through September, so having gallons of water for luxuries such as washing your car and watering your grass is very exciting for us.

Some Rain Barrel Facts:
  • A 55 Gallon Barrel will collect approx 1300 gallons of water each summer in our area. 
  • Rain water is naturally soft and is great for car washing and watering delicate houseplants, as well as your entire garden. 
  • Reduces the volume of water flowing into the sewers. 
  • Chlorine free water helps maintain a healthy biotic community in the soil. 
Some Rain Barrel tips:
  •  Make sure you have a Mesh Screen on top of your rain barrel it keeps not only debris and bugs out but most importantly it keeps the worst bugs of all out . . . Mosquitoes!
  • If you are not going to use a pump and instead rely on gravity make sure to prop it up on blocks. 
  • If you wanted to make it really low maintenance you could simply attach a soaker hose to the barrel, run it through your garden beds and never worry about watering your garden again! A soaker hose will provide a slow trickle of water consistently. Don't use this method on your trees as it will make the roots grow shallow and close to the surface where the water is. We have trees that need watering in our front yard so we opted for the water pump! 
  • If you are as concerned about mosquitoes as I am, drop a tablespoon of olive oil into the barrel every month and they absolutely won't lay eggs in there Although the mesh should do the job of keeping them out, but you can't be too careful when dealing with tiny vampires!
  • If you live in a VERY cold climate you might consider disconnecting your barrel and storing it. If you live in a moderately cold climate you can get away with emptying it and storing it upside down outside. Our climate is fairly mild so we'll be storing it outside, although if we get a cold snap we'll definitely empty it and store it upside down.
  • Lastly, a bit of a cosmetic tip, if you don't like the color of your barrel you could definitely spray paint it with any paint made for plastic! We're lucky ours came in the exact shade of our trim.
Like everything around our house it's a work in progress, we still have plans for the rain barrel situation on the side, you'll see we have the white PVC piping there (3.), which will connect to a water pump that will make it possible for us to have water pressure and use things like sprinklers and other hose attachments.
 1. Mesh Screen. 2. Hose we're using right now until the water pump system gets hooked up, if your using a gravity feed this hose is all you'll need. 3. The PVC pipe with a hose attachment, it will run under the deck where the water pump is, and will pop out in the front of the house so we're able to water the entire front yard using rain water. Gladly all of the piping will be hidden under the front porch.

We also have plans to add 3 small bushes in front of the barrel so that you don't have to stare at all it's hoses and pipes. But that's going to happen either this fall or next spring we'll see! What ever we plant there will need to be able to withstand some terrible soil conditions and not much light.

Check back this afternoon when we announce the winner of our Stacie Ann Giveaway as well as an incredibly generous Coupon Code for Mini Manor Readers!


  1. Are you going to post about your sisters engagement party? Did you host it? -jackie

    1. Hi Jackie,
      We didn't host it because it was so sunny and beautiful we moved it to my sister's fiances giant backyard just up the street from us so we could all party outside in the sun then cap it off with a bon fire later that night.
      We don't have many pictures of the night but a few good ones!!! The wine took over and the camera went away haha!
      Thanks for asking!

  2. The timing on this couldn't be more perfect! well, for me, anyways :) I was just discussing with the boyfriend a way to save him even more money since he "doesn't believe" in watering the lawn. I'm getting tired of sneaking around with the waterhose when he's not home ;)

  3. Didn't know about the tablespoon of olive oil to stop the vampires from laying eggs, thanks for the tip!

    Chantel L

  4. This is awesome. Thank you for all your explanations. I can't wait to have a rain barrel when we get our own place. For now it was hard enough convincing our land lords to let us get a compost bin.

  5. We've considered getting one as well. We have been fortunate to have quite a bit of rain this summer, but we are still in a drought situation. Our local Whole Foods carries them here, but are a bit pricey. Hubby's dad was plumber so hooking it up would be a breeze for him since his dad taught her everything he knew about plumbing! Thanks for the explanation. And the tip about the olive oil.

  6. thanks for posting this! I want to add a rain barrel when I buy a house.

  7. I would love to have a rain barrel. My husband loves to water his yard and water is pretty expensive where we live so the water bill is a surprise each month. We've had no rain at all in the past month so it wouldn't have gotten much use this year but I'm definitely looking into it for next summer.

  8. Your rain barrel is so chic! I bought mine through a city program too in Missouri, but is is orange and very high profile! I do love it though even if it is an eyesore... :)

  9. Woo! We are definitely looking into getting a rain barrel before next summer. We didn't have a garden this summer and have been fortunate enough to not need to water our grass, but next summer I plan to have a garden. I wish our city provided rain barrels- that would be too easy though :)

  10. I found this post useful.I was trying to find this. Really refreshing take on the information. Thanks a lot

  11. Love the olive oil tip! Thanks!

  12. Awesome! Thanks for the post.

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