How to Make A Rain Barrel For Home And Garden

Drought conditions can make the difference between having a beautiful yard or a dried out pasture. We depend on water for so many things; drinking, washing, cleaning and watering our plants and flowers. Luckily, we can collect rain water to help our dying plants by using rain barrels.

Making your own rain barrel can be costly. However, there less expensive alternatives and you can put your own rain barrel together for about $30. Below are the tools and materials required as well as the instructions to making your very own rain barrel:

Tools List
6″ Hole Saw or saber saw
29/32″ Drill Bit
3/4″ Pipe Tap

Materials List
55-Gallon food grade barrel

3/4″ Brass Faucet
Teflon Plumbers Tape
3/4″ Hose Adapter


1. With a 6″ saw, preferably a hole or a saber saw, cut a round hole on the top of your barrel. This is where the downspout will direct the rain water.
2. Use the 29/32 bit and drill one hole at the top of the barrel and one at the bottom. The bottom hole will be for your gravity fed faucet and the top one is for overflow.
3. Using a 3/4″ pipe tap, thread both of the 29/32″ holes.
4. If your barrel is used, you will need to clean thoroughly. Since this water will be used for your garden, avoid bleach and instead use something a little greener. Castille soap is great for this since it is made from vegetable oil.
5. Screw the hose adapter into the 3/4″ threaded hole that you drilled at the top of the barrel.
6. Using the Plumbers tape, wrap the threaded side of the faucet to insure a leak proof fit.
7. Screw in the threaded end of the faucet into the 3/4″ threaded hole at the bottom of the rain barrel.
8. Cover the hole in the top by placing piece of screen onto the barrel. This can be any piece of screen that you may have around. I used an old piece from a screen window.
9. Place a length of hose onto the hose adapter on the top of the barrel. Make sure you direct the flow away from your house.
10. Be sure that the barrel is raised above ground, the higher the better since you will rely on gravity for your water pressure.
11. Cut the downspout approximately 4 inches above the barrel. You will probably want to add an elbow to the downspout at this point.

Once you get this far the barrel is ready for use. You can add the faucet to the bottom and let gravity do its thing, or you may even add a hand pump to the top if additional pressure is required.

Benefits to creating your own water barrel not only include an efficient way to conserve our natural resources but rain water is also great for plants because rain water is free of dissolved minerals. This is what is commonly known as soft water.

If you follow the instructions above you will be able to maintain your garden by providing water for your plants. We may not be able to control the drought, but a rain barrel is an excellent way to save our gardens.

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