are typically blessed with spring rains that bring
summer flowers — and then the hot, dry months of July
and August take their toll.
thoughts turn to, "How do I water without running
my water bill sky high?"
rain barrel could be part of the solution.
hard to justify rain barrels for major landscapes, but
they are quite practical for small vegetable and flower
gardens, especially plants grown in containers,
according to gardeners.
importantly, rain barrels benefit the environment.
a rain barrel is one of the easiest things a homeowner
can do to protect water resources," says Julia
Hillegrass, team leader with askHRgreen.org, an
environmental public awareness program for the 16
counties and cities in Hampton Roads, Va..
barrels pull double duty by providing a free source of
water for outdoor uses while preventing water pollution.
When you catch rainwater instead of sending it down the
storm drain, it prevents pollutants like fertilizer, pet
waste and roadway grime from dumping into local
with your free source of water, you’ll be conserving
water and the energy used to treat and deliver tap water
to your home. It’s an all-around great addition to any
plants, washing your car, even giving your dog a bath
— all great ways to use the rainwater you
you can purchase a pricey rain barrel from a retail
source, you can make your own for about $50, proof
"going green" doesn’t have to be expensive,
you are a do-it-yourselfer, Williamsburg, Va., master
gardener Dennis Wool says YouTube has the best how-to
videos that show a variety of ways to make a barrel. He
recommends using food-grade plastic barrels because some
barrels can contain hazardous materials that should not
very simple designs to elaborate combinations that link
multiple barrels together, all can be found under the
search ‘rain barrels,’" says Wool, who leads
rain barrel-making workshops for his master gardener
water conservationists also go a step further —
decorating their rain barrels in fanciful or practical
of our members painted her rain barrel to blend into the
brickwork and siding of her home — pretty
clever," says Wool.
you want to paint your rain barrel, first prime it, use
acrylic paint. Once your design is done and painting is
finished, clear coat it to preserve its beauty.
first before installing hardware, so you don’t have to
paint around it," says Wendy Iles, founder of
stencils for decorative designs.
branches, leaves or any materials or shapes to spray on
your barrel the same color as your home.
it as a fun project for kids.
barrels should be placed immediately adjacent to down
spouts, according to Wool.
designs work best when the barrel is raised by stacking
several cinderblocks or making a stand/bench for it sit
upon," he says.
you use water in the rain barrel regularly, mosquito
breeding is not a problem, according to Wool. Otherwise,
cover your opening with window screening material to
keep mosquitoes out.
creative person put gold fish in their barrel to take
care of the bugs, and it was a real eye-catcher,"