Conserve Water – DIY Rain Barrel

Posted on 07/01/16 by Simply Organic Turf Care

During the hot Georgia summer your lawn will need a constant supply of water to stay healthy to stand the heat. Watering grass and plants with a conventional water supply can be easy in the short run, but over time proves to be expensive and wasteful. A simple but extremely effective way to save water for organic lawn care use is to start using a rain barrel. A rain barrel is a large container used to store runoff water that you can use for your plants. As with most do it yourself projects, the initial time and money investment can seem a little daunting, but trust us, the results are worth it. As this is a DIY project, we’re going to make our own. Local sources like Craigslist can be a great way to find barrels for cheap, or just something simple like a large plastic garbage can be fine.

Materials needed:

  • Barrel or container for water (preferably at least 55-gallons)
  • A spigot
  • ¾ inch Bulk Head Fitting
  • A drill (1 ½ inch drill bit for hole)
  • Around 4 feet of string
  • A plastic filter or filter mesh
  • Small piece of metal to weigh down string (a large nut should do it)
  • Box cutter or small saw
  • 3 to 4 yards of metal mesh or thin metal fencing (optional)

First you want to create a hole in the top of your barrel to allow water in. Cutting a 4-inch by 4-inch hole in the top should be fine. Also cut a small hole or two on the top to allow excess water to flow out. After that, drill a hole two to three inches above the bottom on the side of your barrel with the 1 ½ inch bit.  Next, take your string with the weight on the end and while holding on to the other end, drop it through the hole in the top, weighted end first. Fish the weighted end of the string out of the hole you made at the bottom of your barrel and slide the bulkhead fitting down until it fills the hole at the bottom. Pull the string through and set it on the side. Make sure that the bulkhead is solidly in place and place the bulkhead fitting over the end sticking out of the barrel to keep it from falling out. Finally, screw the spigot in and your rain barrel is complete!

Setting up your finished barrel is very easy. Just cover the hole at the top with mesh or insert the filter, and hook it up to your home’s gutter system. You’ll be surprised just how fast it fills up after a single storm. If you want to go the extra mile, one easy way to conceal your barrel is to cover the outside with wire mesh and allow vines to grow around it, simultaneously hiding the barrel and creating a natural, rustic look. Now that you have the knowledge, get out there and save some water!

photo credit: Rain barells via photopin (license)