Green Savings – Plants, Yard And Money!
What is a rain barrel and why would you want to build one anyway. Not all of us may have gone green or have a green thumb, but either way, as DIYers, we’re all about, “Show me the money . . . I can save!” So, first of all, rain water is free! Secondly, it’s great nutrition for your plants. If you collect your rain water from your downspout into a “rain barrel,” and you access the water through a spout, you can provide your plants with TLC and lots of nutrients, not to mention the savings on your wallet from watering the lawn! Fantastic, right? What about in cases of emergency, water conservation in a drought, etc. This is a great solution to an unexpected situation.
image credit: Paul Johnson on Flickr
There are so many different ways you can make a rain barrel, but the concept is the same. The first thing you want to check is that rain water harvesting is legal in your state. Here is a good reference link to check it out: Enlight, Inc. Then you’ll want to search online local classifieds for a 55 gallon rain barrel. Your cost will probably be between $10-$30. Next you’ll want to gather your tools:
image credit: Extend Onondaga County
The rest of your materials will depend on what kind of barrel you intend to make. According to Blue Barrel Systems, the blue barrels cut down on algae (see below), but you can also use a regular trash container and landscape fabric found at your local hardware store as described here.
Blue is the industry standard for safe shipment of food-grade liquids. Other colors are not necessarily food-grade, and are more likely to have contained toxics. Please note that the opacity of the barrels is a key feature! If you start with white or clear barrels, you’ll get algae growth.
Another option is to make yourself a decorative rain barrel. Home Depot sells a variety of them, but you’re likely to pay much more for the curb appeal! Or you might even find a local distributor for Earth Minded Consumer Products, and create a 45 or 65 gallon rain barrel with their parts or kits.
image credit: EarthMinded Consumer
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