How to Make a Sustainable Rain Barrel
Want to live green and help the planet? Earth’s water supply is limited, and it’s time we start taking conservation seriously. Here’s a project to get you started.
Using a rain barrel is a positive step towards sustainability, something we’re always striving for here at Freedom Farms in every aspect of our farming. So build your own, save some cash and practice sustainability at home.
April showers are known to bring May flowers, and rain will fall, but rest assured there will be some days of drought ahead. Creating your own rain barrel to collect spring showers is a fantastic way to conserve water and save it for the not-too-far-off dry days of summer. Use it to hydrate the lawn, potted plants, or even for watering small livestock.
The average price for a rain barrel ranges from $90 to $150, but if you make your own, you can cut costs dramatically. Plus, it’s always fun to tackle a do-it-yourself project!
To create your own rain barrel, you will need:
• 1 garbage can
• 1 spigot
• 3⁄4” threaded bulkhead fitting
You will also need the following tools:
• Utility knife
• Teflon tape
• Hole Saw
• Caulk & caulk gun
Step 1: Take the lid off the garbage can and cut out the center. To do this, drill into the plastic to make a hole, and then use the sawzall to finish cutting around the rim. Make sure the hole is wide. The purpose of the garbage can lid is to act as a clamp over the screen which will be used to collect and filter water, so make sure to cut the center out as much as possible.
Step 2: Tip the can and use your hole saw to cut a circle into the base of the garbage can for the spigot. You want the hole to be about 3⁄4 of an inch to fit the spigot. Make sure to cut your hole near the bottom of the garbage can so that the majority of your collected water can drain out. Rain chains are a great alternative to downspouts for diverting water to your rain barrel.
Step 3: Use your caulk to seal the hole. Run the caulk gun around the spigot hole to create a thin layer of sealant.
Step 4: Take your Teflon tape and wrap it around the top end of the spigot.
Step 5: Insert into the bulkhead hole and fit.
Step 6: Now it’s time to fit the bulkhead inside the barrel. You will have to reach into the garbage can and adjust it securely. Be sure it fits tightly!
Step 7: Take your screen and fit it over the garbage can. After you have the screen in place, put the garbage can lid back on top of it. This prevents the screen from blowing off.
Step 8: Add a fun and personal touch to the rain barrel by painting it your favorite color!
Now that you have instructions for making a DIY rain barrel, go ahead and give it a try. It’s well worth the 15 minutes that go into making it, and it will offer a great environmental benefit for your yard for many months to come, especially if a dry spell hits.
Interested in learning more about water conservation? Check out these tips and start living sustainably today.
This post is based on an article by Mary Slattery that originally appeared in the May 2014 issue of Freedom Farms Magazine.