Rain barrel system

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Blog entry by oscorner posted 07-08-2007 02:59 AM 11130 reads 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

With all the talk about saving the Earth I thought that this would be of interest to some. A couple of years ago I decided to purchase a couple of 55 gallon plastic barrels and make a rain barrel system. The city water PH is too high for my plants and instead of adding chemicals to bring it down, I decided to catch God’s water and use it. Now, I know the barrels aren’t woodworking, but I built the rack under it out of 4 X 4 treated lumber and used treated 2 X 4’s for cross bracing. The cross bracing runs across the front and back and between the four legs. The original design was made to hold four barrels, but I had touble with the removable tops bulging unde the pressure of the water. Once I completed the shop I moved it to the corner and stood the barrels up and placed sink top on one end. The piping that is in the center of the barrels was the original connection for the water to enter the barrels when they were lying on their sides. Once full the water would exit from the piping on the top. My biggest challenge in placing the barrels standing was setting up the piping so I could get the water in and out of the barrels. I tied the two barrels (center) with 3” PVC for removing large quantities of water at one time and dropped a 1/2” tubing into the first barrel to drain the barrel almost completely empty. If you have the space and means and grow flowers, especially in pots this is the way to go.

-- Jesus is Lord!

10 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35154 posts in 4640 days

#1 posted 07-08-2007 03:03 AM

Nice overflow. So what is the PH of God’s water. Are you in Acid Rain area?

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4550 days

#2 posted 07-08-2007 03:14 AM

God’s water runs about 6.5 to 6.8, instead of the 7+ of the city water. I’m not in an acid rain area.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1809 posts in 4326 days

#3 posted 07-08-2007 03:22 AM

I have a very similar setup on my shed for the garden. It’s in disarray now until my garden gets put back together though. I have mine setup using drip irrigation fittings at each plant. I typically will add fertilizer directly to the barrel.

I don’t have a pH issue, I have great well water but this is a great setup to provide consistant water and fertilizer to your plants.

-- Bob

View John Nixon's profile

John Nixon

189 posts in 4303 days

#4 posted 07-08-2007 04:05 AM

Very cool Oscorner. That’s a great idea. I should consider doing something similar. Great job.

-- John Nixon - Buffalo, NY -

View Napaman's profile


5530 posts in 4317 days

#5 posted 07-08-2007 05:06 AM

Great!!! How many months of winter water does it take to get the barrel full? And how long will it last? In Nor Cal we get 27-30 inches of rain in a typical year…When I build my new shed I want to have the roof runoff go into this kind of system to feed our garden…

If no new rain comes in over summer—-will the barrels be enough to last?

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4550 days

#6 posted 07-08-2007 05:32 AM

Matt, one hundred and ten gallons of water will last me about two weeks, but I’m only watering a few plants, not a whole garden. I use about 10 gallons a day when we don’t get any rain. I purchase the barrels at $15 each used. The rule of thumb is that it cost $1/ gallon for a vessel to store the water in. To store 500 gallons would run $500 plus plumbing.

Here are a couple of links that might help: and

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Napaman's profile


5530 posts in 4317 days

#7 posted 07-08-2007 05:37 AM

yikes…with no rain in the summer we would need a lot of barrels for the plants…here we have used wine barrels you can by as garden containers…but I am not sure if they would work as water storage…but if they hold wine—why not water… and they look like a part of the garden…so maybe I could hide more throughout the yard?

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4550 days

#8 posted 07-08-2007 05:46 AM

It is definitely a possibility. Setup your system to backup or supplement your city water and you can still reap the benefits of reducing your cost by reducing your water usage. You don’t have to go to the extreme and your plants will love you for it.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4567 days

#9 posted 07-09-2007 05:06 AM

My grandparents had wine (or whiskey barrels) under their downspouts, they were almost always full, and a good thing too with their towns water bans. The collected rainwater is better for your plants also in that its at a tempterature they’re more used to, rather than shocking the roots with cold water from the hose…

by the way, leftover hot water from boiling up spaghetti, or the rest of the tea kettle will kill off any weeds in the yard, garden, or between the pavers on your walk or drive better and more safely than chemical weed killers. The plant and roots are cooked, and no harmful toxins to worry about! (oh and apart from safe, it’s free!) Monsanto be warned!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4401 days

#10 posted 07-09-2007 05:46 PM

I would like to use rain water for the yard and plants too. In central California, we get less rain than Matt does, more like 12-15 inches a year on average. Unlike the midwest and south, California rarely gets rain during the spring and summer months. I would probably need to take up the whole yard with storage barrels just to collect enough rain to water it!

-- Bill, Turlock California,

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