Looking for a way to water my garden and plants in our backyard, my wife and I decided to build a rainwater barrel to capture runoff from our gutters and redistribute the water when needed in our backyard.Potential Uses: 1. GARDENS & SHRUBS: fill at watering can and use it to water specific areas of your garden or shrubbery.2. GRASS: there won't be enough pressure to use a sprinkler or to spray your grass lawn, but you can attach a hose to water areas of your lawn. Just move the hose after a few minutes to water a new area of your lawn.We converted an extra old 45 gallon trash barrel using just a few parts that we purchased at a local hardware store. The process is easy you can do this in just a few simple steps.Process:1. Use a household drill & drill bit to cut a hole in the bottom of the rain barrel about 3" from the bottom of the barrel, this will be the opening from where water will drain from the barrel.2. Coat the female threaded hose bibb with the Teflon tape (about two times around the circumference).3. Thread the Street Elbow (spout) from the inside of the barrel.4. Optional step: Line the barrel with a heavy duty contractor bag (large plastic bag). My barrel had a couple of cracks, so I lined it with a bag to prevent leakage. Yes, you need to make a hole around the bibb on the inside of the barrel so that water can exit the bag and pour out of the barrel. You'll also need to seal the bag around the bibb to prevent leakage.5. From the outside of the barrel, connect the hose bibb to the street elbow until tight, and then point the spigot downward outside of the barrel.6.To prevent leakage, use a sealant (ask hardware store) to coat the connecting areas of the street barrel from both the interior and exterior of the barrel allow to dry for at least 36 hours before exposure to water.7. Locate the rain barrel next to the drainage pipe below a gutter.8. Use cinder blocks or other strong support that can withstand weight of a full barrel of water (which weighs about 10 pounds per gallon). Thus for a 45 gallon trash can, you will need something that can support about 450 pounds in weight. Place your support next to the gutter drain pipe and put the empty rain barrel on top ensuring that a full barrel of water will be adequately balanced and supported.9. The support structure below your water barrel should be at least two feet tall. Keep in mind that water pressure is directly related to height above ground, and that each foot of height provides about 0.43 PSI (pounds per square inch).1 Notes:a. Water pressure is not related to volume of water in your rain barrel. Thus you will see the same flow regardless of whether the rain barrel is full or 3/4 full.b. Typical municipal water pressure is between 50 and 100 PSI, so don't expect enough pressure to power a sprinkler or hose attachment with a spraying function. That said, you will be able to fill a watering can or to run a hose with slow flowing low pressure water flow.10. Cut a hole into the top of the trash barrel that is just large enough to fit your flexible elbow, about 2" x 4". I used a permanent magic marker to trace the outline of the flexible hose onto the lid of the trash barrel before starting my cutting (with a box cutter).11. Use a hacksaw to cut the metal rain drainage pipe (that comes down from your gutter) about 1 foot above the top of the rain barrel.12. Connect the flexible hose into the new opening on the drainage pipe. Insert the other end of the flexible hose into the hole that you have cut into the rain barrel.a. To prevent leaves and debris from entering your rain barrel, you may want to use a patch of wire mesh or cheese cloth as a trap to prevent any debris from entering the barrel when rain water flows from your gutter. I used a 9"x 9" patch of an old t-shirt and poked holes into it with a nail to enable faster flow of water into the barrel. Then I attached the t-shirt cloth to the flexible hose using strong rubber bands, before inserting the hose into the top of the barrel.At this point, your barrel should be all set up! Just make sure to check the barrel after the first couple of rain storms to ensure that there are no leaks at the spout. Also check the cloth/mesh filter every couple of storms to remove debris that may have drained from your gutters.Winter Storage: In late autumn, empty the barrel and wipe clean the interior of the barrel before storing it for winter. It is not a good idea to let the barrel continue to collect water in the fall & winter freezing water may damage the barrel.Rainwater barrels are also available at many hardware stores for approximately $80 to $150, but this homemade barrel can cost you a lot less, while providing similar benefits and helping you to conserve water.
Trash can used or new (45 gallon or larger) • Hose bibb female threaded • No kink • RB Street Elbow • Drill bit • Teflon tape • Sealant (to seal around the spout/elbow) • Flexible (plastic whiteelbow about 10 feet (toconnect from the gutter drain to the barrel) • Optional heavy duty contractor's bag (plastic)