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Harvest Rainwater with Style

Updated on October 7, 2014
Rain Barrell image:  CrossCreations
Rain Barrell image: CrossCreations

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.

Algreen Products Cascata Rain Barrel 65-Gallon, Terra Cotta
Algreen Products Cascata Rain Barrel 65-Gallon, Terra Cotta

The larger model of the Algreen Cascata rainbarrell is made in a very attractive shape.

 
Summit 20-Pack Mosquito Dunk
Summit 20-Pack Mosquito Dunk

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.

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    • profile image

      Tete 2 years ago

      1. I started the 100 days on January 31, 2011.5. I tguaht my first raw-vegan cooking class tonight, February 9, 2011. The menu included:a pecan/macadmia nut/basil cheez stuffed cucumber, topped with avocado, a raw pad thai with a jungle peanut/cashew dressing, strawberry cobbler and chocolate pudding (with an avocado base).

    • newbizmau profile image

      Maurice Glaude 3 years ago from Mobile, AL

      Neat idea

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      This rain barrel makes for a lovely addition to yard and gardens. If I still had a home with a yard, I would certainly get one. When emptying the water from the plant well, have you tried using a turkey baster to draw out the water? I am thinking that would make the task much easier. You would maybe have to open a hole in the moss and gravel the size of the baster tube (or a little larger) and stick a PVC pipe in there so you can insert the baster and draw out the water.

      Great hub on a great product. Voted Up, useful, interesting and H+

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      That is a beautiful rain barrel indeed. I hope you will forgive me, but I have a bunch of questions, as this might be a lovely gift for several people in my life. Before I purchase, I need more information from a satisfied user.

      You said your rain barrel still looks like new after two years, and knowing how terracotta develops layers of mineral deposits, mildew and even moss when left outside, I am wondering what the manufacturer used to coat the barrel to make it stay beautiful. The reason I ask is that this would be used to water food plants as well as ornamentals, and I must be careful about the chemicals that might leach from the barrel to the garden, however minute.

      One of the locations for which I am considering this barrel as a gift is in a desert turned to farm land, where irrigation is required during the growing months. The Midwest also sees long dry spells, and I was wondering how long it takes to fill your rain barrel, and whether it fills at all during the summer months.

      Last question! How deep is the planter that sits on top, and is it also terracotta so that water could filter through to the barrel?

      Thank you for introducing a beautiful product that could be of use in so many gardens. I'm excited to find this and look forward to hearing from you.

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 3 years ago from California

      I live in drought stricken California. We've been talking about buying something like this to collect what rain water there is. I like how the terracotta pot blends in with the yard. I always picture these as big metal drums, so this is really nice.

    • jmsp206 profile image

      Julia M S Pearce 3 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      We all need to save water and this is one good way to do it. Love the terracotta pots as storage containers.

    • Diane Cass profile image

      Diane Cass 3 years ago from New York

      We used to collect rain water for our fish tanks. My husband raised Discus and they require very soft water. Rain water was the best source. These pretty clay pots would have been much prettier than the big garbage pail we were using.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 3 years ago from Southampton, UK

      This looks really good. I would love to capture the rain water from our gutters, but our garden is on a slope, and so I would need to try to get the water back uphill to use it. If I had the money I would love to have a water butt to catch the water, then have a solar powered pump to send it back uphill.

    • CrossCreations profile image
      Author

      Carolan Ross 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      @klbhokie: I reviewed many many rain barrel models before purchasing, and found nothing that came close to THIS one.

    • CrossCreations profile image
      Author

      Carolan Ross 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      @anonymous: If you garden a lot like I do, your water bill will LOVE it!

    • CrossCreations profile image
      Author

      Carolan Ross 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      @LisaDH: Yep. the mosquito dunks work like a charm.

    • klbhokie profile image

      klbhokie 4 years ago

      Great lens! I have been considering getting a rain barrel and you just helped me make up my mind!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I think about doing this a lot.

    • LisaDH profile image

      LisaDH 4 years ago

      Love it! I was wondering what to do about mosquitoes, as I didn't know about the mosquito dunks, but with that problem out of the way, I think this is a great idea.

    • CrossCreations profile image
      Author

      Carolan Ross 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      @FanfrelucheHubs: No doubt about it, those plastic buckets are ugly!

    • CrossCreations profile image
      Author

      Carolan Ross 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      @Frischy: Yes there are many models of rain barrells available, but most I've seen look like trash cans.

    • CrossCreations profile image
      Author

      Carolan Ross 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      @Virginia Allain: Yes this rain collection barrell is perfect for periods of time with no rain.

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 4 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      These rain water barrels are certainly looking better than the old plastic bucket we see around!

    • Frischy profile image

      Frischy 4 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      Wow! These look much nicer than my rain barrels, which are made out of blue 55-gallon drums. I would put something like this in the front of my house and not be embarrassed at all.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      I really need one of these. It doesn't get nearly as dry in NH, but we usually have a week here and there with no rain. This would take care of that.