How to Make a DIY Rain Barrel: A Sustainable Solution for Water Conservation in Minnesota
March 2, 2023
It may be snowing this week, but we’re sending our positive spring energy out there in hopes that rains and warmer temps will be here soon! Over the next few months, as we gear up for another beautiful Minnesota spring and summer, we’ll discuss a few sustainable gardening and landscaping methods you could consider. After years of drought, Mother Nature has decided to give us a little break. If this trend continues, we should be ready to capitalize on the precipitation. Rain barrels are a great way to collect and conserve rainwater for use in your garden or lawn. Not only does this help to lower your water bill, but it also helps to conserve water and reduce runoff into local waterways. Here’s how to make a DIY rain barrel that’s affordable and easy to assemble.
Materials You’ll Need:
- A 55-gallon food-grade plastic barrel
- A spigot or ball valve
- A hose connector
- Teflon tape
- A downspout diverter
- A drill
- A jigsaw or reciprocating saw
- A 2-inch hole saw bit
- A marker or pen
- A measuring tape
Step 1: Choose Your Barrel
The first step in making a rain barrel is to choose a 55-gallon food-grade plastic or wooden barrel. You can find these online or check with local food distributors, wineries, distilleries, or farmers to see if they have any available. Ensure the barrel is clean and free of any toxic chemicals before using it as a rain barrel.
Step 2: Prepare the Barrel
Once you have your barrel, you’ll need to prepare it for use as a rain barrel. Start by washing the inside with hot, soapy water and rinsing it thoroughly. Next, use a jigsaw or reciprocating saw to cut a hole near the top of the barrel for the downspout diverter or position your downspout directly over the top. You’ll also need to cut a hole near the bottom of the barrel for the spigot or ball valve.
Step 3: Install the Spigot or Ball Valve
Insert the spigot or ball valve into the hole you cut near the bottom of the barrel. Apply Teflon tape to the threads of the spigot or ball valve to ensure a tight seal. Tighten the nut on the inside of the barrel to secure the spigot or ball valve in place.
Step 4: Install the Hose Connector
Insert the hose connector into the hole you cut near the top of the barrel. Apply Teflon tape to the threads of the hose connector to ensure a tight seal. Tighten the nut on the inside of the barrel to secure the hose connector in place.
Step 5: Install the Downspout Diverter
Attach the downspout diverter to your downspout using the manufacturer’s instructions. This will redirect rainwater from your gutters into the rain barrel. Make sure the diverter is securely attached to the downspout to prevent leaks.
Step 6: Test Your Rain Barrel
To test your rain barrel, fill it with water using a garden hose. Check for leaks around the spigot or ball valve, hose connector, and downspout diverter. If you find any leaks, tighten the nuts or apply additional Teflon tape as needed.
Step 7: Use Your Rain Barrel
Now that your rain barrel is installed and functioning correctly, you can use it to water your plants, garden, or lawn. Place your rain barrel on a level surface, and be sure to keep your rain barrel covered to prevent debris and insects from getting inside.
Making a DIY rain barrel is an affordable and easy way to conserve water and reduce runoff in Minnesota. By following these simple steps, you can create a sustainable solution for watering your plants and garden. With a little effort and a few basic tools, you can enjoy the benefits of rainwater harvesting and help protect Minnesota’s precious water resources.
Start your project today!
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