Here is our rain barrel set-up. We started collecting rain water about 12 years ago when we bought this house. We used to use the water on gardens, but now the water is used mainly for the kids to play in, washing up outside, and for the animals. If the gardens ever need watering (which seems unlikely this year!), we use the barrels for that, as well. And, of course, they would prove invaluable in any type of emergency situation that involves the loss of city water.
The barrel on the right is one of our original barrels. (The other one suffered a burst seam from not being drained before freezing weather two years ago. We let the outside tasks slide that winter, and definitely have paid for it!) I really like how sturdy this one is. It’s from Spruce Creek Rainsaver, one of the few places you could get a covered rain barrel 12 years ago. You can see how it’s listing to the right, as well as forward. The ground sunk in a bit during some of the early rains when we didn’t realize that the downspout had been knocked off the barrel and was emptying onto the ground right there. It’s not ideal to be leaning like that, but it seems to still be sturdy and functional, so we’re going to wait to remediate that when we drain the barrel before winter.
The barrel on the left is new – as in, I installed it on Thursday. We got it on clearance at Tractor Supply, but it’s the same one that we saw for sale pretty much everywhere around town this summer. Not my ideal design, but the price was right. You might be able to see, I have the two barrels daisychained together – the overflow hose from the barrel on the right runs into the barrel on the left.
The only thing I really don’t like about the barrels is that they really lack sufficient water pressure to use with a hose for any distance, unless that distance is downhill. When we were watering gardens regularly with the barrel, we ended up just doing it with buckets, since the hose was just a lesson in frustration with just a small trickle dribbling out. However, they are absolutely ideal for anything we’d fill a bucket for, or anything we need running water for.