Once a popular fixture at the side of urban and country homes alike, the rain barrel virtually vanished from city centers. But they are gradually reappearing in metro areas again, and sustainable landscaping is only one of several reasons rain barrels are making a comeback.
Water use doubles in the summer months and 40% of the additional usage goes to watering lawns, flowerbeds and shrubbery. A rain barrel parked beneath the downpipe of your home relieves the stress on the municipal water supply.
Collecting water in rain barrels for landscape use will help reduce high water bills.
It’s environmentally friendly. By channeling rain from the roof through the gutters and downpipe and into a rain barrel, the volume of rain water entering sewer systems is greatly reduced.
A downpipe diverting water into a barrel is further protection from water pooling and seeping into the foundation of your home. If a rain barrel sounds like an appealing alternative, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Rain barrels come in different sizes – choose one that will suit your landscaping needs
- Select a type of rain barrel with a removable lid or top – if the barrel needs to be cleaned inside or if the water becomes stale and requires draining, being able to remove the lid will make the job easier
- Ensure that the style of barrel you buy includes and overflow outlet and a drain plug
- To access the water, a rain barrel might have a spigot, hoses, a tap or a plug (made of either wood or rubber). Decide which one you would find easier to use
Some municipalities endorse the use of rain barrels. If there is such a program in your area, it could mean that you will be reimbursed for a portion of the total cost of installing your rain barrel under the downpipe in your backyard.