Friday, June 8, 2012

Rain Barrels

It has not rained much here this spring and I have found myself watering my garden with the hose to make up for the lack of water for my plants.  Upon receiving the water bill for this month, I realize that I've probably used about $10 in water just the past month!  To me, that's just way too much.  So I decided to find an alternative solution to make up for that.

My dad had mentioned making a rain barrel and putting it in the back yard where the concrete on our back porch sort-of slopes toward the house a bit (and therefore the downspout is extended a ways beyond that so we don't get a flooded basement!).  I did a quick search online and found plenty of different ways to make my own rain barrel.   You know, for when it actually decides to rain.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation has a great document on making a rain barrel that includes hoses and overflow holes.  This was a bit fancy for me, as I have little experience drilling holes in plastic and installing hoses.  But it could be a really great idea for someone who wants a nicer looking barrel for their home and yard.

Environmental Services for the City of Portland also had a document about making your own rain barrel.  This one still featured the hose, but seemed less daunting as I read through it.  What was the best about this is that it helps you to determine where the best place for a barrel would be.  There are, of course, places that you can buy pre-made barrels but the idea of making my own in just a few steps with my fiance on a Saturday morning is so irresistible.

The cheapest alternative that I have found to the more complex rain barrels in the previous documents is one that is made out of a trash can, has a mesh to filter out gunk, and a simple spout with a valve.  I found it on Better Homes and Gardens and I will probably use this construction on my own project.  Sure, the trash can is less eye-appealing but it's an easy-to-find product wherever you live.  I'm sure I could dress it up a bit, too.

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