Skip the Work

Many suppliers sell ready-to-go rain barrels that are already cut. Simply connect the downspout to the lid and you’re all set.

Watch the Video

Watch this short video on making your own rain barrel from a food-quality container.
2.3MB
requires QuickTime
Created by Hillsborough County

Download or Order the Publication

This 28-page homeowner's guide PDF file explains harvesting rainwater by using a small rain barrel. Harvesting rainwater allows you to supplement other irrigation sources at a minimal cost.
Created by the Hillsborough County Water Department and funded by the District

Building Your Own Rain Barrel

Decide where to place the barrel — many people put them under a downspout for easy attachment. Also consider the distance to your plants, gardens and flower beds.

If you don't have gutters, put the barrel under a valley in the roof that sheds a lot of water. Be sure to put a screen over the open barrel to keep out debris, small animals and insects. This will take a lot longer to fill, but may be more practical for your location.

Step 1. Clean the barrel

Use food-quality containers, not ones that held harsh chemicals. Rinse the inside of the barrel with a mixture of 1/8 cup of bleach and 5 gallons of water to wash away food or juice remnants.

Step 2. Install a hose spigot

To install a 3/4" hose spigot, drill a 15/16" hole for the spigot threading just a few inches from the bottom of the barrel. This will provide a few inches of clearance for attaching a hose or filling a watering can and will allow for debris to settle below the outlet to reduce clogging.

Step 3. Build a platform

Concrete cinder blocks provide a strong, stable and level platform for your rain barrel. If you use more than one layer of blocks, stack them in a crisscross pattern so they won't tip over.

Step 4. Connect downspout to barrel

Position the barrel at its set height and measure where you need to cut or disconnect your downspout. Often you can disassemble the downspout at the gutter by taking out screws or drilling out rivets. If you do have to cut it off, use a fine-toothed hacksaw blade or tin snips.

A flexible downspout extender makes an easy transition from the downspout to your barrel lid and eliminates the need for exact measurement because it bends and stretches to the length you need.

Step 5. Cut barrel opening

Place the downspout connection in the barrel. If your barrel comes with a lid, or if it has a sealed top, you will need to cut a hole in it.

Overflows and Multiple Barrels

You may want to connect an overflow pipe or link multiple barrels together. An overflow pipe will carry excess water that would normally overflow the barrel to another part of the yard or into another rain barrel. This is a great way to reduce water around the foundation of your house during rain.

Southwest Florida Water Management District home page

Home Page  •  Who We Are & What We Do  •  Search & Site Map  •  Contact Us  •  Privacy & Disclaimer  •  © Copyright  •  pdf Download PDF Reader