Before we start I’d like to thank The Rain Barrel Depot for sending me two of these kits! Gene has been so helpful and has answered every question I had and even tried to help me find some free barrels!
My Rain Barrel Journey
Rain water collection and water storage have intrigued me since I was a child and my dad helped some friends set up cisterns to store rain and well water. He’d even gone out and bought a windmill, hoping to one day have our own well and use the windmill on our mini-farm. I caught the bug for sure.
This summer when my berry plants were struggling and my dad told me it was because they didn’t like the city water I started draining the kiddie pool and watering the strawberries with water that had set a while and given the chlorine a chance to evaporate. I realized then, after seeing the difference that made, that I needed to collect rain water. I got in touch with Gene at The Rain Barrel Depot and he suggested these $26 kits and offered to send me two.
Long story short, my husband built me a much pricier rain water collection system without the kits because our downspout situation was really weird. But, I saved the kits to use at my in-law’s place because they also wanted rain barrels! This weekend I put one together in under 30 minutes, almost completely by myself!
What Do You Need to Build a Rain Barrel?
1. Barrel. If you live near a beverage bottling plant, soup factory, or other food plant that receives its goods in food grade plastic barrels, call them and ask if you can get a few! A lot of times you can get your barrels for free this way! We ended up buying ours from a guy who gets them from Campbel’s Soup, but next time I’m going to call the soup plant myself and ask about them!
2. A stand. You don’t have to have a stand, but it sure will help if you want to be able to get a bucket or watering can under the faucet. The instructions provided by TRBD have you mounting the hose bib about 10″ from the bottom of the barrel so you can attach a hose. But, we used some cinder blocks and a few spare boards to make a frame for ours to sit on so we could get the barrels up off the ground.
3. Hardware. This is where The Rain Barrel Depot saves the day. They sell this Do-It-Yourself Rain Barrel Kit with everything you need for just $26. When I say everything, I mean everything including the bits you put on your drill to cut the holes in your barrels and your downspout. My husband and I were both so impressed with how convenient this was and how we didn’t need to go out and spend extra money buying the tools to put everything together.
Price of total project may vary…
I have to add this little disclaimer here in case you have to buy a barrel or blocks or wood for a stand. Like I said, the stand isn’t necessary and barrels can usually be found for free.
Building the Rain Barrel
This part was fun and my husband even let me do everything myself so I could tell you just how easy it is! The only thing I asked for help with was making sure the line between the downspout and the barrel was in nice and snug cause I didn’t have enough upper body strength to get it all the way in. I think it would have been ok, but hey, I like things done right. :)
I followed the simple instructions included in the kit and in less than 30 minutes I had a finished rain barrel! We tested it by putting the end of the water hose into the gutter and letting it run a few minutes. Now all we have to do is wait for it to rain and that’s supposed to happen later this week!