Making a Rain Barrel

Before I get to the amazing rain barrel workshop I went to last weekend, can I just say… we are FIVE days away from closing! I honestly have no idea how the time went so fast. I somehow feel that we are way behind – we have about a dozen or so boxes packed. Even though we have the whole month of May with both places, I’m still getting a bit stressed as the project list grows and grows.

Regardless, last weekend I spent part of Saturday at a local rain barrel workshop! It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while, but as renters, there wasn’t much of a point. Our county offers a few workshops throughout the spring each year, and this one just happened to fall two weeks before closing – the timing was perfect.

I think you can get similar rain barrel “kits” at most major hardware stores, but the ones I’ve seen are $80-$90. The workshop I took through our county was only $50, and included both the workshop and all the materials and tools needed to make the whole system. Plus, I got to spend an hour at one of our local parks – it was a win-win!

We spent the first 15 or so minutes discussing rain barrels, how they are used, and how to properly set them up. I learned that the average roof on a 1,200 square foot house can collect about 180 GALLONS of water during a 1/4 inch rain! I couldn’t believe it! After the “lecture” part of the workshop, all of the materials and tools were explained, then we were cut loose!

Each of us started with a 55 gallon barrel  – these ones were originally industrial strength sanitizer.


The first step was marking where we would cut our intake hole, i.e. where the gutter will enter the barrel to fill it! Once the hole was cut, we could move on to the next step.



From there, we drilled another hole to screw the spigot into…


We were able to place the spigot wherever we wanted, so I opted for as close to the bottom as possible. We plan to put the barrel up on a platform, so we will still be able to sneak a bucket underneath and we can take advantage of every last bit of water.


Next up was drilling a hole for overflow. Since our barrel is only 55 gallons, chances are even a moderate rain will overflow it. The last thing we want is water pooling around our foundation. Each of us was supplied with a 12 foot hose to direct water away from our homes. This hole can also connect to a second barrel, essentially piggy-backing our system. For now, though, we’ll stick with one and see how we do. Once that hole was drilled and the hose was attached, we were done!

For now, our barrel is sitting in the courtyard of our townhouse. I never thought I’d be happy for rain, but we are supposed to get some next weekend right after closing – hopefully we can determine which gutter will be the best location to install the barrel. From there, I can’t wait to have access to water for our new yard, plants, and garden!

Do any of you have a rain barrel system? Stay tuned for more packing/prepping updates this week, and hopefully good news come Friday!



  1. I’ve always wanted to do this! However, we have a cistern at our house in addition to town water so we’ve never had need for it. Maybe a future project. Can’t wait to see the new place!

    • We’ll have city water as well – this is more to save money on watering plants and the garden! I can’t wait to see the new place (again) either – we haven’t been inside for over two months! Thankfully it’s only a few more days 🙂

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