DIY Network

How to Create a Rain Barrel

By positioning rain barrels under downspouts you can collect enough run-off to significantly cut your outdoor watering bill.

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use rain barrels under downspouts to catch run off

Step 1: Watch an Overview Video

Step 2: Create Drainage Holes

By creating several rain barrels you can save enough water to help you get through the hot and dry summer months. A 55-gallon plastic drum with an intake hole cut in the top will work well.

Creating a drainage hole toward the top of the barrel will enable overflow water to escape. A hole toward the bottom will allow you to drain captured water for use around your home. Use a 1 1/8-inch spade bit to create the bottom and top drain holes.

The size of the hole you cut in the top will be determined by the size of the filter basket you plan to use. Allow enough room for the basket’s lip to rest on top of the barrel so it won’t fall in. The diameter should be large enough to accommodate the downspout extender tube. By drilling a starter hole, you can slip the blade of a jigsaw in more easily.

Step 3: Ensure a Watertight Seal

The male parts of faucet assemblies fitted with rubber washers can be inserted from the inside of the barrel and the faucet fixtures can be threaded on from the outside. Placing a rubber washer on the inside piece will ensure a watertight seal.

faucet assemblies fit both in and outside barrel

Step 4: Install a Filter and Elevate the Barrel

A screen filter will prevent gutter debris from entering your barrel (Image 1). Use a plastic or nylon screen so it doesn’t rust. Also, the water will flow best from the barrel if it is raised off the ground (Image 2).

Step 5: Attach a Downspout

To modify the downspout, separate sections of the downspout or cut it with a hacksaw. Attach a 90-degree downspout elbow and then the plastic extender pipe. By modifying your downspout you can attach an extender tube and feed it through a filter that sits in the top hole.

extender tube is attached and fed through filter