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How to install a water barrel / butt in your garden

Updated on February 7, 2014
water barrels / butts
water barrels / butts | Source

When it comes to gardening one of the most important ingredients will of course be a water supply. If you live in an area where your water is metered, and therefore you are charged for every litre you use, then the cost can become an issue (plus if you live in a dry area with low rainfall then saving every drop will be essential). Having a water barrel, rain barrel or water butt in your garden can save you a great deal of money over a year. This handy article explains just how easy it is to fit one of these into your own garden in order to save the water nature provides for future use on your garden plants.

Most gardeners know that rainwater is far better for our plants than tap water. Not only does rainwater not have all those nasty chemicals added, but it also contains stacks of natural nutrients that our plants thrive off. Additionally many people are now on metered water supplies, so having a water barrel / butt will save you money, plus of course it is environmentally friendly to conserve water wherever possible.

You could even have two water butts / barrels in your garden and link them together so that when one fills up completely it overflowed and fills the second butt / barrel. An average house roof can produce as much as 24,000 litres of water, so it is well worth storing and using as much of it as possible.

water barrel
water barrel | Source

You will need

  • water butt / barrel
  • water butt /barrel stand
  • diverter kit
  • connector kit
  • watering can
  • power drill
  • suitable drill bit
  • hacksaw
  • spirit level
  • pencil or chalk
  • screwdriver

Optional extras

  • water butt / barrel treatment to keep the water clean
  • water butt / barrel pump (if you intend to use the water for lawn sprinkler systems )

water barrels / butts linked together
water barrels / butts linked together | Source


  1. First you will need to choose a suitable and convenient downpipe from your house roof. Place your water butt / barrel stand beneath it (first making sure the ground is level), and ensure that when the water butt / barrel is placed on the stand there is plenty of room for a watering can to be placed below it for filling.
  2. Secondly you will need to mark the height of the top of the butt / barrel on the downpipe. Using a hacksaw cut the pipe 3cm below the level of the mark, making sure the cut lines up correctly with the entrance point to the water butt.
  3. Next attach the rain diverter fitting to the downpipe, (the cut section of downpipe will fit the bottom of the diverter).
  4. Now measure 8cm down from the top of the water butt / barrel and drill a hole through which the butt connector is fitted.
  5. Attach the water butt / barrel connector to the water butt / barrel by pushing it through the drilled hole and screwing the fittings into place.
  6. Finally attach the water butt / barrel connector to the rainwater diverter with the supplied fittings. Put the lid on the water butt to prevent mosquitoes laying eggs in the water, and for safety reasons (small animals or children can drown in water butts and barrels).

watering can
watering can | Source

Extra tips

  • If heavy rain is forecast fill up as many other containers, watering cans, buckets, bins etc as you can in order to make more room in the water butt / barrel for the new supply of water.
  • Try buying a space saver water butt or barrel if you only have a small garden. These are designed to fit into corners, are often square or can even be wall mounted.


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