Join landscape design pro Doug Scott to learn how to build a simple rain barrel for irrigation of your containers or small gardens. Depending on your climate, rain barrels can potentially provide enough water to sustain your plant materials and minimize your water bills. They are great supplement to traditional irrigation systems for hydrating yard plants and gardens.
RAIN BARREL IRRIGATION TIPS
- You should only use collected rainwater to irrigate your lawn and garden. Collected water should not be consumed unless it has been properly filtered and tested for potability.
- Place your barrels underneath or adjacent to the downspout you intend to use as your primary rainwater source. Do not place near septic services, utility lines or HVAC components.
- Don’t leave any rain barrel openings uncovered. Openings can allow debris to get in to the storage system, and can be a safety hazard to pets and children.
- Rain barrels should have an overflow port to enable excess rainwater to easily flow out of the system once the barrel is full.
- Be sure to create a clear path for water to drain if the barrel fills beyond its capacity. To accomplish this, your can either layer pea gravel on the ground beneath the storage tanks, or connect the overflow port to the underground drainage system previously being used.
RAIN BARREL IRRIGATION MATERIALS LIST
- 55-gallon water barrel or large garbage can w/ lid
- Tape measure
- Spigot kit with bulkhead fitting
- Drill with appropriate circular saw attachment
- Mesh screen
- Extension cord
- Waterproof silicone sealant
- Downspout diverter kit/materials
RAIN BARREL IRRIGATION BUILD STEPS
- Prepare your barrel by drilling a spigot hole approximately four inches up from the bottom of the barrel. Also, drill and overflow hole approximately two inches from the top of the barrel.
- Install the bulkhead fitting into the lower hole. Then install the spigot, and ensure it is oriented at the right angle.
- Seal the spigot and bulkhead fitting with waterproof silicone sealant, making sure it dries for the recommended amount of time before exposing it to water.
- EITHER cut another hole on the backside of your barrel to accommodate your diverter and its bulkhead fitting (this will connect into your downspout)
- OR (if you’re using a trashcan) cut a hole in the lid that roughly matches the shape of your downspout (you can trace the outline of the downspout on the lid to use as a cutting guide), then place barrel under your downspout. Make sure the overflow hole is oriented so that water flows away from the house.