Texas Living

Water conscious: DIY rainwater barrels

By Callie Leahy 4.2.14

Instead of reaching for the hose when you head out back to water your garden, scrub down a muddy four-wheeler, or water that lush spring grass, consider recycling water run off with a DIY rainwater barrel.

Money savings, water conservation, and a happier lawn are just a few benefits of adding a rain barrel to your home. Here are some answers to a few top-of-the-mind questions about this valuable resource.

Why build a rain barrel?

Rain barrels are a no-hassle way to collect rainwater for use on your lawn and garden. Although rain barrel water isn’t suitable for drinking, think of all the money you will save just by recycling groundwater that would otherwise go to waste.

How does it work?

A rain barrel is a drum or trashcan that connects directly to your gutter on the outside of your home. The water filters through a screen to keep the debris out of your water supply, and then stores in the container until you are ready to use it.

Is it easy to make and setup?

Yes! This do-it-yourself project requires a few supplies from the hardware store and about a weekend of time, depending on the setup. Most rainwater barrels can be built and assembled for less than $100. To get started, you’ll need the following items:

  • 1 large plastic garbage can or drum
  • 1 tube of watertight sealant or a roll of Teflon tape for plumbing
  • 2 rubber washers
  • 2 metal washers
  • 1 hose clamp
  • 1 spigot
  • Landscaping fabric
  • A drill, and plenty of room for assembly

Once you’ve acquired all of your supplies, now you just need to pick a design. Whether you decide to go with form or function, rainwater barrels are a storm of possibilities!

  • Flower barrel  — Turn the top of your rain barrel into a planter for flowers or a small herb garden.
  • Enclosed barrel  — Discreetly hide your rain barrel in a miniature house enclosure.
  • Double barrel  — Maximize your rainwater conservation with two barrels and a unique setup.