Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rain barrels - installed

Here's the rain barrel wrap-up with a few photos. Jay and I spent a morning building stands for the barrels (a single-barrel and a double-barrel!). I was quite proud that the only money I put into the stands was the fasteners (screws, nuts and bolts). All the treated wood (4x4s, deck boards and even a few 2x6s) were left over from a deck project way before Jay got here, and stored in the rafters of the garage. I took them down, protected them with leftover deck stain and built stands to dimensions of the available wood.

Mocking up the stand with available wood.
Initial barrel placement to see how it fit with the rest of the bed at right. My goal is to use the single barrel to water the very nearby herb garden, and the double barrel to water the much larger beds along the garage (lettuce, radish and more basil and cilantro, nasturtium and a few zinnias and cosmos that are going to hate the partial shade.

Single barrel from a friend, used to water the herb bed at left.  We then installed the barrels on some paving bricks that previous owners had left in the basement. 

The two barrels bough at the City of Madison sale. The left gets water first via the white flexible gutter, and then overflows via the black pipe between. The left barrel overflows onto the ground. The white hose at bottom is supposed to even the water between barrels, have yet to get enough water to see if this is plumbing magic or not.

I wanted to "hide" the two barrels as much as possible. This is the view of them from the street. My original idea was to use a soaker hose to water the beds; I quickly discovered it needed a lot of water pressure to work, very low water pressure out of these barrels even up on 30-inch stands.


  1. so in the end the soaker hose idea didn't work at all or does it just weep slowly?

  2. Very nice! We would love to have rain barrels but our HOA doesn't allow them unless their sunk into the ground. I look forward to hearing more of your experiences with them. Your carbon footprint is shrinking rapidly. :) --Haylee

  3. Three barrels? Woot! That's a commitment. I've seen some great examples of using the rain barrels decoratively -- or having them hidden. We're going let our girls paint on ours and show it proudly.

  4. @Denise, the soaker *requires* high pressure to force the water through the soaker hose membrane. In my rain barrel case, nothing came out, not even weeping slowly (though I did when I realized it wasn't going to work :)

    @Haylee, underground? You'd have to have a pump to get the water up and out, not very sustainable. You might suggest that if you need a lever to get one.

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  7. "A rain barrel can save money on your water bill, limit storm water runoff and erosion, reduce water usage, and even reduce associated at-scale management costs, such as the cost of chemicals used at your local water treatment facility," Jenny Isler, director of sustainability at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, said.
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  8. The ingenuity and resourcefulness showcased in repurposing materials for the rain barrel stands is impressive! It's inspiring to see sustainable solutions like these in action