Making Your Own Rain Barrels - Rain Chains Direct

Making Your Own Rain Barrels

rain barrel with rain chain

A rain barrel is a fantastic way to store rainwater during the wet season to use during the dry summer months. During the summer a typical household uses approximately 40% of the household water to water lawns. There are two main incentives for collecting storm water in a rain barrel: first, it conserves the overall domestic water consumption during the dry months; second, it prevents the overload of the sewer system during the wet months. Constructing a rain barrel doesn't require engineering skills; it is easy and just about anyone can build it. 

Building a homespun rain barrel is inexpensive and requires just some basic tools and components. The aim is to collect water cascading through the downspout or rain chain from the roof when it is raining. 

  1. Choose a leveled location that is nearest to the lawn for easy watering. 
  2. Take a large waterproof container with a lid, a food grade plastic barrel is a good option. 
  3. On the lid, form an opening large enough to fit a downspout elbow or a PVC cup. Cover with a piece of mesh or a screen to prevent debris like leaves and bugs from getting in. 
  4. Drill a 2-inch hole at the top to fit an overspill pipe. The overspill pipe must fit tightly inside the hole. Size the downspout or rain chain to end just above the barrel and above the opening on the lid of the barrel. Create a 1-inch hole near the bottom of the barrel and tightly secure a garden hose.


food grade barrel


You can also attach secondary barrel to collect more water. Create another 2-inch hole at the top of the first barrel and a second barrel; using a small pipe, connect the two so that when the first barrel is full, the water overflows into the second barrel. You can attach the overspill pipe and the garden hose to the second barrel. Avoid adding too many barrels as water stored for too long becomes stagnant. 

Maintenance of the rain barrel is necessary. Make sure to clean it before every wet season to prevent growth of algae and to get rid of any waste. The barrel must remain securely shielded to obstruct mosquitoes from entering. Provide a proper channel for rainwater overflow during storms; direct it away from pavements, lawns and neighbors’ properties.

Adding a rain barrel to your landscaping scheme is a great way to conserve water and is efficient because the ability to reuse the water for plants and gardens.