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, 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.


  1. Where can I purchase that rain barrel? It’s perfect.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Tina…we got it on Amazon, but it’s no longer available. I’m sorry!

  2. Ana Mc Lean says:

    Hi! I was looking for a way to do a rainbarrell!
    I am from Costa Rica and we have two seasons rainy and sunny (even sunny rains!) but the shiping and taxes increases the cost … Would you mind to explain me if is just to connect from the gutter and how many litters is it? Maybe I can make one b myself (well, I hope so). Thanks!

      1. Ana Mc Lean says:

        Clever! Thank you!
        (excuse me if have grammar mistakes, Im not english native speaker ;) )

  3. Pam Adams says:

    Great idea and very cute in your back yard.

  4. Loretto James says:

    What a great solution! Thanks for making us aware of such a project. You’ve inherited your mother’s ability to write clear instructions, too. Thanks

  5. Such a CUTE house! I love what you’re doing with it :)

    In regards to the rain barrel, I hope you have good luck with yours. We bought the same barrel and it sprung a gaping leak in the bottom corner. It was very disappointing. I need to find another option, because rain barrels are the greatest!

  6. Thanks Elizabeth, I didn’t know there were attractive rain barrels out there! Also appreciate the installation info. And, your home looks lovely!!

  7. Oh my gosh! I had no idea they made cute rain barrels – who knew? Thanks for sharing your project – love it!

  8. Linda Powers says:

    Thanks Elizabeth! Your house is adorable and I love your rain barrel! Yours looks Awesome!

  9. Hi Elizabeth! How exciting that your on your moms blog!!! I’m so glad you shared this because I had no idea they made cute rain barrels! Sounds like Darren might be a keeper;)

  10. Elizabeth@ Rustic Maple says:

    Your home is so cute and tidy with great curb appeal. Your rain barrel looks like a great (and attractive) solution.
    Elizabeth Ann (I share both of your names lol.)

  11. Lisa Magerl says:

    This is maybe the greatest single thing I have seen! I have resisted because the run of the mill barrels are hideous! Thank you for your post!

  12. I have been wanting a rain barrel for a long time, maybe now I will get one.
    I just read this morning a good tip to keep your rain barrel water from getting stinky is to add a tablespoon of charcoal (the kind you buy where aquariums are sold) to your rain barrel. This charcoal is also added to terrariums to keep them from developing an odor, it will not harm plants or water, it is perfectly safe to use, large chunks of charcoal are often used to filter water in underground cisterns.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      This is a great tip…thank you so much for letting us know!

  13. Shirley@housepitality designs says:

    I have been wanting a rain barrel for some time now…but as life is, it has always been “on the back burner”…this post has inspired me to put this project to the top of the list….I love this rain barrel…and thanks so much for the tutorial….I have bookmarked this post for my hubby!!….

  14. Ellie LaJuett says:

    I love this idea, looks great and a good water saver!!!

  15. Cute rain barrel…didn’t know they could be cute! You’ve done a great job with your landscaping! ;)

  16. penny @ the comforts of home says:

    What a wonderful idea! And I didn’t know that you could buy cute rain barrels either!

  17. Rain barrels sure have come a long way as far as decor, this one is adorable and so glad you have a beau to do the installation work. Your yard is fantastic :)

  18. Very nicely done and it looks so pretty!

  19. Love this idea and thank you so much for sharing.
    Your house is beautiful Elizabeth.
    Darren, thank you for helping Elizabeth with this project so now we can all have cute rain barrels.

  20. Welcome back. What an artistic addition to your charming home and landscape. I see talent and vision run in the family. I had no idea style and function were available in a rain barrel. Darren is a wise and talented guy. Thank you both for the detailed insight.

  21. My husband and I were just talking about installing a rain barrel but I wasn’t too hot on the wine barrel OR the thrash can look. Anybody how knows me well, knows that I will go along with most decorating ideas but it has to look pretty and nice. Thank you for sharing this post!

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