Collecting rainwater at your home in a rain barrel doesn’t have to be difficult. Nor does it need to cost a lot or look like a 55-gallon oil drum sitting in your backyard.
Quite the contrary.
In fact, there are lots of decorative rain barrel kits that you can buy that include everything you need – for under $200. Many are light enough that you can move them yourself – and have them set up ready to collect rainwater in under 30 minutes.
Not only that – but some are so cleverly disguised that your friends may not even realize that your Mediterranean-style urn, your Napa-inspired wine barrel or that natural-looking granite stone in your landscape actually are storing water.
Here’s how to get started:
Step 1: Choose a Rain Barrel Size
There are small, medium and large water storage containers. Figure out how much space you have around your gutter downspout and decide how much water you want to collect. Containers typically have between 30 and 100 gallon capacity.
Homeowners looking to collect more water can either install multiple units at various downspouts around the property, or they can connect rain harvesters to each other to increase capacity. (Check that they model you like allows this).
Step 2: Choose a Barrel Style
This is the fun part, but sometimes it can be difficult to decide. Consider the exterior color and style of your home to find a decorative barrel that best fits the surroundings. A well-matched rainwater tank is easier to “disguise” as a sophisticated or stylish piece of outdoor home decor. Check out the Comparison Chart here.
Step 3: Choose a Location to Collect Rainwater
Your rain barrel location is not limited to the exact place of a downspout. You can purchase diverters which essentially let you place your stylish barrel where it is convenient for you.
A diverter can also come in handy if you are working with limited space and want to make sure your water storage container is out of the way.
Step 4: Get a Rainwater Diverter if Needed
You can do that here.
Step 5: Get a Plant for Your Rain Barrel, or Not
Some decorative barrels also include a planter on top, which makes for a great disguise! However, even if the model you choose does not include a build-in planter, that doesn’t always mean that you can’t add one on the top.
Step 6: Set Up Your Water Collector… In Under 30 Minutes
I wasn’t kidding. These rain barrel kits are seriously ready to put in place when you get them. There is very little assembly required. Of course, it you need to install a diverter or build a rain barrel platform to raise the container off the ground, these tasks add more time to the set-up process, but not a lot.