Installing a Rain Barrel

Directions for installing a rain barrel. Shows what extra supplies are needed with pictures and sources.Hi everyone!  I’m back.  For those of you who didn’t see my post on Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cupcakes, my name is Elizabeth and Ann is my mom.  I’m here to do another guest post on the newest addition at my little house:  a rain barrel.  

The landscaping at my house has been a work in progress over the last four years.  When I moved in, I had ivy ground cover EVERYWHERE, no idea how to get rid of it, and no money to pay someone to do it for me.  Slowly but surely, with the help of my wonderful boyfriend Darren, the ground cover has been removed and I now have legit landscaping all around my property.  It’s beautiful.

Elizabeth's House May 2015There was a spot in my back yard very close to my patio where the downspout of the gutter flowed directly into my flower/mulch bed.  The gutters are part of an add-on to the house (that probably wasn’t built correctly) and the rain had no where to go other than in the middle of the flower bed.  Every time it would rain, mulch and dirt would be pushed all over my patio, which created a huge mess.  

A couple of weeks ago, Darren told me I should get a rain barrel.  He said it would make watering the plants in my back yard easier (because I do not have a spicket near my back yard) and having the gutter flow directly into the rain barrel would solve my mulch/dirt on the patio issue.  I knew he was right, but the very first thing I said was, “Okay, but do they make cute rain barrels?” An ugly rain barrel was not happening in my cute back yard.
 
installing a rain barrel easyAs it turns out, Amazon.com sells very cute rain barrels in several different colors.  I was so excited when I saw that you could plant flowers in the top of the rain barrel!  I ordered the Light Granite color because I knew it would blend in well with my house.  Darren was 100% in charge of the installation of the rain barrel, so we took a trip to Lowe’s to get a few things he needed.  
 
Directions for installing a rain barrel. Shows what extra supplies are needed with pictures and sources.The first order of business was to level out the ground so that the rain barrel would sit straight without tilting or wobbling.  He picked out four rectangle patio stones to build the base for the rain barrel. We also bought some pebbles to put in the top of the rain barrel to help the water flow out of the top where the flowers would be. Tip: make sure to use a level when installing your patio stones.
 
Next he had to pick out materials to make some modifications to the gutter so it would flow correctly into the rain barrel.  He bought a flexible elbow, two aluminum side elbows, and a vinyl gutter drop outlet. He used tin snips to cut off the existing gutter. (He said a hack saw would work as well.) You can see in the picture below where he used the flexible elbow and the two side elbows. 
 
Directions for installing a rain barrel. Shows what extra supplies are needed with pictures and sources.Once the gutter was all set up to flow into the rain barrel, Darren cut a square hole in the mesh screen at the top of the rain barrel.  The vinyl gutter drop was attached with four screws to the underside of the screen so that it was sticking up through the hole. The new gutter piece fits directly into this hole, so the water doesn’t splash out when the rain barrel is filling up.  It will also keep bugs and mosquitoes out of the rain barrel.
 
Directions for installing a rain barrel. Shows what extra supplies are needed with pictures and sources.I have a small hose that I can attach to the rain barrel spout that I’ve used to fill up my watering can.  It’s so nice to have water access right in my back yard.
 Directions for installing a rain barrel. Shows what extra supplies are needed with pictures and sources.Hopefully this post was helpful for some of you who didn’t think there were cute rain barrels in the world or who were not sure how to make your gutter flow into a rain barrel.  So far, it’s been a great addition to my little house on Parkland Place.
elizabeth