There are a lot of ways to be eco-friendly around your house. Best of all, most of these environmentally friendly practices also help you save economically. One step you can take in your home is to invest in a rain barrel. A rain barrel allows you to collect the water runoff from your roof when it rains, which you can use to water your garden or lawn. The best rain barrels have an opening at the top to allow water to flow in and a spigot on the bottom for collecting the water. Most rain barrels will also have an overflow spout, in case it rains very heavily and exceeds the capacity of your barrel.
What to Consider Before Buying a Rain Barrel
Before buying a rain barrel, your first step will be to make sure you can have one. Some places ban rainwater collection, while others offer rebates and incentives. You’ll also be limited if you’re a renter. Since most gutters have a downspout that leads directly to the ground, you’ll need to make some changes in order to install a rain barrel. You’ll need to cut the downspout near the top of the rain barrel, and then install a diverter to allow the downspout to flow directly into the barrel. Additionally, you’ll likely want a stand to elevate the barrel and improve water flow. There are specialized stands, or you can make one using concrete blocks. It’s crucial when installing a rain barrel to make sure it’s level, to avoid the risk of it tipping over in a heavy downpour.
When you want to use the harvested water from your rain barrel, it’s important to remember its limitations. Since the rain it collects runs over your roof, you and your pets should not drink from it, as it may have a variety of contaminants. Instead, you can use the rainwater for washing your car or watering your garden. Likewise, you’ll want a lid to protect your rain barrel from debris, as well as an overflow solution to move water away from your house to avoid water damage.
Though there are quite a few considerations involved, installing a rain barrel can be a great way to have a reliable supply of water to see you through your garden’s needs. We’ve picked out a few solid options that can be found online, including basic, economical barrels, as well as options that will blend in well with your home’s aesthetics.
1. FCMP Outdoor 45 Gal. Rain Barrel
In terms of eco-friendly products for your garden, FCMP is a brand you should know. They specialize in compost tumblers and rain barrels. This option is made from polyethylene plastic, but it resembles a classic oak barrel. A screen on top helps keep out bugs and debris. The back of the barrel is flat to easily lean against your exterior wall. There’s also a conveniently included nozzle for attaching to your hose.
2. FreeGarden 55 Gal. Rain Barrel Green
For a slightly larger option, this pick from FreeGarden has a 55-gallon capacity. There’s a mesh filter on top to help keep out bugs and debris, and a durable brass spigot for accessing the collected water. It has a square design that makes it easy to place against a wall.
3. Good Ideas 50-Gallon Gray Plastic Rain Barrel Spigot
Since they’re so large, it’s understandable to want to choose a rain barrel that won’t detract from the look of your garden. This option from Good Ideas has a stylish look with a grooved design that resembles a tree. Plus, the top of the barrel includes a well for placing plants, enhancing the look of your garden even more. The top also includes a channel that moves water away from the back of the barrel, helping to avoid water damage to your foundation.
4. RTS Home Accents Barrel
This barrel from RTS evokes the classic look of an oak barrel. Like other options on this list, it’s made from plastic, which is lightweight. The top has a mesh screen to help filter out dead leaves, bugs and dirt. This barrel also includes built-in water overflow solutions, such as a hose hook-up.
5. Outsunny Plastic Drainable Rain Barrel
Though it won’t be able to compete with hard-sided barrels in terms of durability, it’s hard to beat the convenience offered by this plastic barrel from Outsunny. It has a collapsible design, so you can put it away when it’s not in use. The barrel has a filter to keep out pests and leaves, and the barrel includes a spigot with a switch.
6. Good Ideas Rain Wizard Plastic Stand
This stand from Good Ideas can be used with its companion rain barrel, featured on this list. The curved shape makes it easy to place a larger watering can under the barrel to use the water.
7. Half Cored Concrete Block and Stepping Stone
BEST DIY STAND
One option is to DIY a stand for your rain barrel. This simple half-cored concrete block can be bought individually, and you can pair it with a stepping stone to create an even surface for your rain barrel to sit on. The block and stepping stone costs less than $2 a piece, making for a cost-effective DIY project.