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    How to Build Your Own Eco-Friendly Rain Barrel

    A rain barrel is a great way to conserve water "for a rainy day" and save money too. In just a few easy steps, you can build your own rain barrel out of an inexpensive trash can. Create your own water reservoir to keep water handy to use for containers and window boxes, as well as to collect and store water to withstand dry spells.

    Rain Barrel Materials Checklist

    • Large trash can (at least 44 gal.)
    • Drill with spade bit
    • Jigsaw
    • Hole saw
    • Barb fitting for overflow hose
    • 1½ in. sump drain hose
    • ¾ in. hose bibb
    • Teflon tape
    • Silicone caulk
    • ¾ in. female pipe coupling
    • ¾ in. bulkhead connector
    • Window screening
    • Hacksaw
    • Sheet metal screws
    • Screwdriver
    • Metal cargo strap with ratchet

    Instructions for How to Build a Rain Barrel

    Start by cutting a hole in the top of the trash can lid.

     

    Use the jigsaw to cut a hole about 12 inches in diameter.

    Drill a hole with the jigsaw for the overflow hose near the top of the barrel. The hole should be just large enough for the barb fitting. You can mark where you want to cut for more guidance.

     

    Put the barb fitting through the hole, and use the rubber washer and retainer nut (if these came with the barb fitting) to secure it from the inside. Slip the hose onto the barbed end of the fitting to secure it.

     

    Drill the hole for the spigot. This hole should be just as large as the threaded coupling. (The spigot is how you will let water out of the barrel.)

     

    Use Teflon tape on each threaded coupling to tighten the connections. Tighten the stem of a hose bibb onto a threaded coupling. Insert this into the hole that you've drilled. Then, inside the barrel, slide a rubber washer onto the coupling end. Tighten a threaded bushing over the coupling to create a seal.

     

    Then use caulk to further seal the inside and outside of the hole.

    Set the barrel upright and spread a section of window screening over the top.

     

    Use the cargo strap and ratchet to secure the screen over the top of the barrel. This will prevent mosquitoes, or other insects, and debris from getting in the barrel.

     

    Trim the screen and snap the trash can lid on the new rain barrel.

    Installing your Rain Barrel in the Garden

    Before you can start filling your rain barrel, you need to place it under a downspout. You'll have to cut the downspout and install an elbow with a straight piece to carry the water to the barrel. To get the most out of gravity-fed water pressure, elevate the barrel at least 2 ft. off the ground using concrete cinder blocks. (Measure where the top of the barrel will hit before you cut off the downspout.) When it rains, water will drain from the downspout into your barrel.

    Now you're ready to use your reclaimed rainwater!

    TSC Rain Barrel Making Supplies

    • Large trash can (at least 44 gal.)
    • Drill with spade bit
    • Jigsaw
    • Hole saw
    • Barb fitting for overflow hose
    • ">1½ in. sump drain hose
    • frac34; in. hose bibb
    • Teflon tape
    • Silicone caulk
    • frac34; in. female pipe coupling
    • frac34; in. bulkhead connector
    • Window screening
    • Hacksaw
    • Sheet metal screws
    • Screwdriver
    • Metal cargo strap with ratchet