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Build a rain barrel

SAFETY FIRST: Ask an adult to help with tools you haven't used before.

Conserve water by collecting rainwater and using it for your garden or lawn.

Rain Barrel Photo

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • Recycled food barrel (try checking with large restaurants or food distributors)
  • 2 to 4 concrete blocks (to allow room for a bucket to fit under the spigot)
  • 3/4-inch hose spigot
  • Drill
  • Saber saw
  • 3/4 x 1-1/4-inch threaded pipe nipple (used as overflow connector)
  • Window screen
  • PVC cement

WHAT YOU’LL DO

1. Wash out the barrel with a solution of 1/8-cup bleach and 5 gallons of water.

2. Drill a 15/16-inch hole a few inches from the bottom of the barrel. Thread the spigot halfway into the barrel, apply PVC cement onto the threads and continue screwing it in until snug.

3. Using the same procedure as the spigot, install the 3/4-inch overflow connector a few inches from the top of the barrel.

4. Choose a good spot for the rain barrel. It needs to be close to a rain downspout and a short distance from your plants and gardens.

5. Raise the barrel off the ground by placing it on concrete blocks. Reconfigure the downspout so it empties directly into the barrel. Use the screen to cover the open hole in the barrel to prevent insects or debris from getting in.

6. If you’ve installed an overflow, you can attach a hose and direct the water to another part of your yard.


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39 Comments on Build a rain barrel

  1. What’s the water pressure like? Do you Need a pump?

  2. these barrels are great… we have 3, no problems with insects if you ad the screen people.

  3. Thank you this is exactly what I was looking for

  4. My dad found actual rain barrels inside a car wash.

  5. learn2shoot // May 21, 2012 at 6:06 pm // Reply

    Be sure to check local laws collecting rain water is actually illegal in some areas.

  6. LOL:>

  7. Where do you get the barrels?

  8. I goggled….Where to buy food grade rain barrels in my state and found a great source less than two blocks from my work!

  9. Green Scout // April 20, 2011 at 4:36 pm // Reply

    I made one of these two years ago and I cannot use the water fast enough! I love it and have yet to have problems with Mosquitos. I use the water on my flower beds, vegetable garden, and have a bottle of camp soap on it to wash my hands too!

    • Guys, anyone having trouble with mosquitos is because you didn’t read carefully enough. In the listings of the materials you will need it says “Window screen”. Just take out the top of the barrel, place the window screen, and screw the top back on.

    • One drop of oil puts a shean on the water misquotes can’t break thru it. Your safe frm the varmints do not drink tho

    • whoda thunk // May 14, 2013 at 3:03 pm // Reply

      One trick for mosquitos if the barrel always has “some” water and is in a shady, not-too-hot spot is to put a goldfish in there. It has to be bigger than the spout though! It will eat the mosquito larvae and it’s poo will add nitrogen to your garden.

  10. If you gather rain off your roof, be aware the water that runs over any shingles or tar will be full of nastiness not recommended for food growing. grass, probably ok.

    • seascout291 // August 18, 2010 at 9:00 am // Reply

      Great project – wish we’d thought of it – we bought a commercially built water barrel. Standing water may allow mosquitoes to breed – get some beneficial bacteria mosquito control rings at your garden or home improvement center. The bacteria eat the mosquito larvae. The screening alone may not prevent mosquitoes … and you don’t want to potentially spread disease like West Nile.

    • brother of eagle. // October 17, 2010 at 9:31 pm // Reply

      hey to prevent that stuff getting in the baRREL PUT AFEW layers of tightly woven screen over the hole then it will filter out the bad stuff so the you can use it for growing

    • is it ok for flowers?

      • Anonymous // January 22, 2012 at 3:37 pm //

        yeah just put a screen on it and some fertilizer in and good water but you should use a bucket to water the flowers

    • mother earth // April 2, 2012 at 8:01 am // Reply

      add a tablespoon or two of salad oil to the barrel. The oil provides a barrier to the mosquitos and won’t hurt the barrel or the plants.

  11. wouldent you think it would rust if it was metal

  12. outdoor man // March 5, 2010 at 8:16 pm // Reply

    this is great!My MoM and DaD are going to make this this summer.

  13. Boy Scout Man // December 20, 2009 at 9:11 pm // Reply

    One problem, Mission Viejo dosen’t get much rain!

  14. This sounds like a great way to go green!

  15. to sniper: LoL!!

  16. Wow! Neat Idea!

  17. cool i will talk to my faimly about it

  18. mine got zapped by lighting!!!!!!!!

  19. really good project gonna try it and post the out come

  20. Great project. I built one. How about a hovercraft project?

  21. not sure if itll work… it might leak

  22. great…i like to see this article

  23. historygeek // August 18, 2009 at 3:36 pm // Reply

    Looks great

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