A rain barrel is a container that collects and stores rainwater from downspouts and rooftops. You can use collected rainwater to water your lawn and gardens. Generally a rain barrel is made using a 55-gallon drum, a vinyl garden hose, PVC couplings, a screen grate to keep debris and insects out, and other materials found at most hardware stores. How to build a rain barrel»

Rain barrels can be constructed in a number of ways, but they all serve the same purpose — to collect rainwater and decrease the amount of stormwater runoff that leaves your property. Using rain barrels is one way to decrease your household’s impact on local waterways and to become a good steward of the local watershed.

Why use rain barrels?

They irrigate your lawn and garden

During the summer months it is estimated that nearly 40 percent of household water is used for lawn and garden maintenance. A rain barrel collects water and stores it for those times that you need it most — during the dry summer months. Using rain barrels potentially helps homeowners lower water bills, while also improving the vitality of plants, flowers, trees and lawns.

Use native plants to increase water infiltration and decrease time-consuming maintenance

Rainwater is naturally soft and devoid of minerals, chlorine, fluoride and other harmful chemicals. The chemicals and hard water from many of our municipal water systems can add to chemical imbalances in soil and damage sensitive plants.

Water collected from the roofs of houses picks up very little contamination, and is very healthy for plant life.

A wonderful way to complement your rain barrel and increase your property’s ability to absorb runoff is through a rain garden.