Harvest Rainwater with Style
Ever wanted to harvest rain water with a rain collection and storage system? Sure there are many cheaper versions of rain water collection and storage systems, but if your outdoor space is as important to you as it is to me, nothing on the market compares to the beauty of this model. Soft curves in an earthy terra cotta color blends beautfully as stunning yard art.
This one pictured is the larger size that holds 50 gallons of water. I find the larger version most attractive (see it below) but is so large you might feel it is too big for some spaces.
After a couple of years and many seasons, the rain collection barrel is very durable and still looks like new. Blazing hot summers in the midwest require lots of watering in my gardens. This saves significantly on the water bill over time.
The larger model of the Algreen Cascata rainbarrell is made in a very attractive shape.
Throw one or two of these in water to repel mosquitos. They won't lay eggs.
About these Rain Barrells
You won't get the water pressure you get from a regular garden hose. There's a solar powered-gadget available to increase the water pressure which I have not tried yet. This might prove a great option as long as your location gets direct sunshine for most of the day. The hose that comes with it is only 6 feet long, so you'll likely want to attach another hose anyway. A soaker hose attached works well, since you don't need the water pressure. By keeping it placed where water is needed most, the watering chore is simple.
About the foundation or base: Because gravity is crucial to the water flow, place it on some raised surface and not at ground level. I have mine set atop a couple of those round concrete stepping stones you can get from a landscaping supply source. They are just slightly larger than the base of the barrel, so they make an attractive and yet inexpensive foundation.
Caution about overflow: If there was a huge storm with torrential rains, what happens when the barrel is full? Well it might overflow. Not good - especially since it's installed right next to the foundation of your home. Of course, you do not want puddles of water collecting there. You can install a diverter (see link below) on your downspout to prevent this problem. Once installed, when the barrell is full, it diverts rain to the downspout. I've had these installed for a couple of years, and they seem to work fine after many downpours.
About the plant well on top: While the plant on top adds to the beauty significantly, live plants do not work well. There's no drainage hole, and if there was then dirt would fall into the barrell. So live plant roots would drown. I used fake plants instead, silk ones you can find at Hobby lobby or similar stores. Pick one that grows tall (like a spider plant) along with some that trail downward like English Ivy. I put a hunk of styrofoam in the well, stuck the silk plant pieces into it, then covered with gravel and spaghnum moss. Looks great, though I'll say it does fill with water after a hard rain and is tough to empty. The water will eventually evaporate, but you know sitting water attracts mosquitoes so you might want to keep some of those mosquito dunks on hand to throw in there (find them above right, link to amazon).
Installation: I bought my rain water collection barrels at a time when I was replacing gutters and downspouts anyway, so the contractor did the installation. See below about how to install it yourself. You'll find videos about installation of both the rain barrells and the diverter.
Installing the Rain Barrell
How to install your rain collection and storage barrell.
Installing the Rain Diverter
How to install the diverter for your rain barrell.
How the Diverter Works
See in this video how the rain barrell diverter works to reroute water from downspout.