If you have a fair amount of plants in your yard that need to be watered, using a rain barrel to collect rainwater can be a great way to save both water and money. A rain barrel system allows you to collect water from a roof or gutter and store the water until you need it for watering. Assembling a rain barrel yourself isn't too difficult, either, and it's possible to use an upcycled barrel to make the project even more eco-friendly.
Chrissy Hennessey of the blog The New Me put together a tutorial with her husband, Nathan, for how to construct a rain barrel at home using only a few materials. They utilized a barrel that was previously used for shipping pickles in their project, so they suggest looking around to see if any companies in your area are willing to give or sell you their old food barrels.
Note: Be sure your barrel never contained anything toxic, as that could make your rainwater unsafe for use in your garden.
According to The New Me, rain barrel systems involve three components; collection, storage and output. Once you've found a good location for collection (next to a roof or gutter) and obtained a barrel for storage, all you have left to get are the necessary parts for your output. This will involve a faucet, a plumbing fitting and a few other components available at a home improvement store, Hennessey explains.
The tutorial also indicates it is a good idea to get some mesh to put over the top of the barrel to keep the mosquitoes out, since mosquitoes breed in standing water.
For a complete set of instructions with helpful photos for making your own rain barrel system, head over to The New Me.
Learn More: A Budgeter's Guide to Rainwater Harvesting