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How to build a rain barrel for collecting rainwater

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.



  • 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

Rain Barrel Photo


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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12 Comments on How to build a rain barrel for collecting rainwater

  1. harmony4u // July 8, 2017 at 2:55 am // Reply

    I am environmentalist. i saved water all my life and used it watering plants and even washing the driveway. pl. save water for next generations. Thanks to who does.

  2. Be aware, many cities and states have made collecting rainwater illegal. research the laws in your community before starting this project!

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

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

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

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

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

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

  8. LOL:>

  9. Where do you get the barrels?

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

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