Homemade Rain Barrel DIY Project


Learn how to make your own homemade rain barrel out of a garbage can and a few simple materials. Become more self-sufficient with this off-grid water storage rain barrel and always have an emergency water supply on hand just in case. #rainbarrel #diyrainbarrel #offgridwaterLearn how to make your own homemade rain barrel out of a garbage can and a few simple materials and always have a source of off-grid water on hand!

* * *

We have the good fortune to live on Vancouver Island. On the west coast of Canada. Where it rains. A lot.

In fact, we actually live in a temperate rainforest. It might not necessarily look like it because so much of the land has been developed in various ways, but luckily there’s still a lot of forested area around us, and in the fall, winter and spring, it tends to get pretty wet.

People here complain about that because, well, people like to complain about everything, not least of all the rain. But come summer, everybody raves about how lush and green everything is. 

Naturally, as a gardener, the spring rains are more than welcome, and around here we tend to take it for granted because we get so much of it that by summer we’re used to having a surplus of water in our rivers, reservoirs and deep in the ground warding off the worst effects of summer drought. The only problem is, that rain isn’t so predictable anymore. 

The climate is changing and every year we’re experiencing drier weather, longer droughts, more wildfires and a longer wildfire season. This also means campfire bans, air quality advisories and water restrictions, all of which we’re getting pretty used to around here.

But this year is off to an especially dry start already. In fact, this has been our driest spring ever, which means there’s even less water in our reservoirs. And on top of that, we’re dealing with a broken city water pipe that needs being repaired this week. And Murphy’s Law would have it that we just got put on city water a few months ago (we used to be part of a rural well system but the city limits are beginning to expand).

All of these things combined have led to us being put on Stage 4 water restrictions for the first time ever. For some perspective, Stage 4 is the most extreme level of water restrictions where we live. We’re already pretty used to being put on Stage 1, 2 and 3 restrictions in the summer, which includes no washing of cars, limited to no watering of lawns and even hand watering of vegetables and shrubs between certain hours only.

But Stage 4 means no watering at all. Bad news for gardeners, homesteaders and even commercial farmers (even farmers are not permitted to water their crops under Stage 4 water restrictions. The only exception is to use water for livestock drinking purposes).

We’re still allowed to use running water for drinking, cooking and sanitary purposes (within reason), but no watering of vegetable gardens or anything like that. 

Luckily the restrictions are only set to last for 10 days and it’s supposed to be a fairly rainy week. But we still wanted to be prepared and figured this was a good push to get some rain barrels set up, just in case. We figured that even if it didn’t rain before the restrictions went into place, if we at least filled up a barrel with water from the hose, we’d have enough water to draw from during the restrictions. 

 

Related: 10 Emergency Water Solutions for When the SHTF

 

Learn how to make your own homemade rain barrel out of a garbage can and a few simple materials. Become more self-sufficient with this off-grid water storage rain barrel and always have an emergency water supply on hand just in case. #rainbarrel #diyrainbarrel #offgridwater

 

Rain Barrels: Pre-Fab Vs. Homemade

We’ve been meaning to set up some rain barrels up for a while. Even though we’re not off-grid and, clearly, very much reliant on city water at the moment, we know it’s always a good idea to have emergency water on hand. 

Now, you can buy rain barrels around here or online but they’re not cheap. Most of them cost around $85 – $100 or more per barrel. But really all you need is some sort of vessel to hold water. Which is how we came up with the idea of using garbage cans since we already had a couple extras we weren’t using.

If you don’t have plastic garbage bins on hand you can purchase one for less than you could buy a rain barrel for at your local hardware store, but if you have to purchase all of the parts, you should add up the cost and see if it makes more sense to just buy a water barrel or to make your own. In our case, we always have random parts and bits and pieces and scrap materials laying around so we were able to make this rain barrel for zero dollars out-of-pocket.

I am, of course, very lucky (and grateful!) to have such a handy, handsome husband who can build and craft just about anything, and can pretty much figure out how to do it all in his head. But even so, this project is a pretty simple one to tackle even if you don’t consider yourself very handy. 

 

Related: How to Build a 3-Bin Composter for Under $5

 

My hubby, Ryan, was able to make this rain barrel in an afternoon and it’s working great! But again, you should weigh out the cost to you and the time it will take versus the cost of just purchasing a rain barrel. Some things are better and cheaper when they’re homemade, but it always depends on your situation and experience. (ie. I do NOT sew. I’ve tried, but the time it takes me to do a sub-par job is just not worth it for what I can purchase clothes, etc. for at the store).

As for how to use the rainwater you collect, be aware that the water is not potable, meaning it’s not safe to drink. If you’re looking for an off-grid or emergency drinking water system, there are filtration options such as this family water purifier. Also, be sure to check out this post on 10 Emergency Water Solutions for When the SHTF if you’re looking for more water preparedness ideas. But as for this DIY rain barrel, it’s best to use the water for things like watering your garden or for emergency sanitation purposes (ie. washing dishes, clothes, bathing, etc.)

Alright, now that I’ve got any “disclaimers” out of the way, here’s how we Ryan made our DIY garbage can rain barrel…

 

How to make your own homemade rain barrel

Homemade rain barrel diagram

 

Step 1: Choose your location

For a rain barrel to work properly, it should be set up near the corner of your house where your drain pipe runs down from your gutters.

You’ll need to route your drain pipe into your rain barrel to filter the water into it from your gutter catchment system, so choose a corner of your house where there’s a drain pipe to set your rain barrel up.

 

Step 2: Make a stand for your rain barrel to sit on

While you could technically just put your rain barrel right on the ground, keeping it a couple feet up off the ground gives you the ability to add a spigot (tap) and have enough room to fit a watering can or bucket beneath it and allow the water to pour into it, so I recommend making or using a stand underneath your rain barrel. 

Ryan built a two-foot tall stand out of scrap wood to prop our rain barrel up on because that’s what we had on hand, but you could use cinderblocks or bricks or really anything that is strong enough to hold the weight of your barrel when it’s full of water (at least 250 to 300 pounds on average for a standard size garbage can), and level so that the barrel sits flat and doesn’t tip or wobble.

 

Step 3: Route your drain pipe into the bin

Once you’ve set your stand up and put the garbage can on top of it, you’ll need to cut a hole in the lid and route the drain pipe from your gutter into the bin.

Drain pipe in homemade water barrel

Ryan used a couple elbows to divert our drain pipe to where we wanted it to be, but you could also use a flexible drain pipe that you can bend and shape to where you want it to go.

Trace around the drain pipe on top of the lid and then cut the hole out with a utility knife. Do a test run to make sure the drain pipe fits in the hole, but keep the lid off until after step 5 as you’ll be adding a debris screen before the lid goes on.

 

Step 4: Add spigots

You’ll want a tap on your rain barrel for ease of use, as well as a tap to allow any excess water to flow out instead of having your barrel overflow from the top. Again, we had a couple spigots on hand for these purposes, but you can buy them at any hardware store or get them online here

Cut a hole in the bottom of the barrel where the spigot will go. A ¾ inch hole should do for most standard spigots. Pop the spigot in the hole and then seal around the edge with silicone, pipe dough or rubber washers.

Rain barrel spigot

Drill another hole on the side of the barrel near the top and attach another spigot or a pipe for the overflow drain. (If using a spigot for the overflow, you’ll want to leave the tap open).

Attach a hose and route the hose to the original drain (or wherever you want any overflow water to go). This will help direct overflow water to where you want it to go and prevent water from spilling over the sides of the garbage can once it’s full.

 

Step 5: Add a debris screen

You’ll also want to add a screen to your rain barrel to prevent any leaves and debris from your gutter from entering your rain barrel, as well as to keep bugs out. This is especially important for bugs like mosquitoes that lay their eggs and hatch their larvae in still water. Even though you probably won’t be filtering and drinking this water, you certainly don’t want to be attracting a bunch of mosquitoes into your space!

Ryan cut the mesh out of an old window screen we had laying around. Of course, if you don’t live in a scarp yard like us, you can buy some window screen material and use that. 

Rain barrel with screen

Rest the screen on top of the open barrel and then secure the lid on top and cut any excess screen material from around the edge, leaving a couple inches all the way around so that the screen is slightly larger in diameter than the barrel.

Fasten the lid onto the barrel and rout the drain pipe through the lid into the hole that you cut.

 

Step 6: Secure the barrel

This is an optional step, but it helps to make sure your rain barrel stays in place and doesn’t tip over or blow over if it’s not full enough.

Ryan fastened our barrel to the side of our house with plumbing banding to prevent it from tipping and spilling, however you could also run plumbing banding through the handles of the bin and fasten it right to the stand. 

And that’s it! You’ve got yourself a rain barrel!

Homemade rain barrel

Having rain barrels on your property is a HUGE step toward self-sufficiency on any homestead and is pretty much a non-negotiable if you’re planning on going off-grid, but really everybody should have some sort of emergency water source for watering and sanitation purposes. 

Because we (humans) use A LOT of water, and we often only think about storing water for drinking and maybe cooking with. But all it takes is a day without running water to reveal how much water we really do use in a day for everything from watering gardens to doing dishes and laundry to bathing, washing up and flushing toilets.

So even if you have no intentions of having to use water from a rain barrel, it never hurts to have one anyway. You just never know when you might need that water source, and you’ll definitely be glad to have it when you do.

Wishing you health, wealth and plenty of rain this spring!

I'm a modern homesteader on a mission to help you create, grow and live a good life... from scratch!

 

 

 


CATEGORIES
HOMESTEADING
REAL FOOD
NATURAL LIVING

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
You Might Also Like
What to Stock In A Home Apothecary

What to Stock In A Home Apothecary

* This article contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.   Having a home apothecary full of medicinal herbs, tinctures and infusions of all kinds is many a homesteader’s dream! In fact, as far as goals and dreams...

read more

What does it really mean to be self-reliant?

What does it really mean to be self-reliant?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it really means to be “self-reliant.”  We talk a lot about self-reliance (or self-sufficiency) in the homesteading community, and outwardly it may seem as if the goal of “achieving” self-reliance is what ultimately...

read more

40 years on this Earth.
11 years together.
8 years married.
6 babies, one living, 4 in heaven and one more hopefully on the way.
20 fur (and feather) babies in our time together.
5 homes (plus a couple tents).
6 countries.
About 5,000 pounds of homegrown tomatoes, among other things;)
Too many good times to count.
Enough hardships to shape our characters.
One beautiful life together.

To my smart, talented, strong, kind, selfless, handsome amazing husband… The day I met you everything changed for the better. Sure, we’ve weathered some storms, but knowing I always have you to turn to has helped me through my darkest hours. The laughs, deep conversations, goals, dreams and unconditional love we share make each day worth living. And the family, home and life we’ve created together are more than I could have ever hoped for.

Happy 40th birthday to my one and only @thehumblehandyman. I can’t imagine doing life with anyone else. ❤️
...

66 8

And then there were 3 😔

Despite fending off an eagle attack the other day, a sneaky raccoon got into the chicken run early this morning and took out one of our girls.

Having animals die is definitely the hardest part of homesteading, but it’s a reality of this lifestyle that everyone must come to terms with sooner or later.

While we care for our chickens and want to give them the best life possible while they’re here, we understand that they’re livestock, not pets, and that we’re not the only creatures who see them as a food source.

Luckily we have a new flock of up-and-comers who will be ready to lay in a few months. Until then, egg production around here is gonna be pretty scarce.
...

19 2

So this is 35…

I decided to read my horoscope today (since it’s my birthday and all). I don’t really buy into the horoscope predictions, but I do think there’s something to be said for the personality traits we’re born with when the stars are aligned just so. Here are a few snippets that I found to be almost eerily on point:

“Tauruses born on May 18 are characterized by love of freedom and independence…They possess extraordinary creative energy, and they are never without an important cause to champion. They enjoy taking risks, but only when they believe the risk really matters.

As a rule, most decided early in life what they wanted to do and are not likely to deviate from that path. Their independent spirit makes them ideally suited to careers where they are their own boss, or are at least autonomous within a larger structure.

May 18 people want to make it on their own. No matter how successful they become, they never forget their roots and may even draw upon them for inspiration.”

Every year on my birthday I reflect on where I’m at, where I’m headed and where I’ve come from, and all I can say is that each year I’m only more grateful to be living life on my own terms, doing what I love most next to the people I love more than anything else in the world.

I’ll never forget where I came from and I’ll never have any regrets, because I wouldn’t be right where I am now without all of the experiences -good, bad or otherwise- that I’ve had along the way.

I knew when I was a little girl that I wanted to be a writer and a content creator. Homesteading came a little later in life, but when I knew, I knew.

I hope to be doing what I love and sharing it with you all for the next 35 years too! (Well, actually, if I’m being honest, I’d like to retire and throw my phone in the river long before that;) But until that day comes, thanks for being here to celebrate life with me today and every day. Cheers to another turn around the sun 🍻
...

58 10

My daughter stayed overnight at her grandma’s last night, and this morning when I talked to my mom she said “Evelyn told me she’s never been to the doctor before.”

Proudly, I replied “no, she hasn’t, because she’s never needed to.” This is thanks in large part to the fact that we keep a well stocked natural medicine cabinet at home and do our best to treat everyday illnesses and ailments ourselves.

Having a well-stocked home apothecary (and the know-how to use herbal and natural medicine at home) is yet another important piece of the self-sufficiency puzzle, and one that we’re working on a lot right now, both in our home and in my membership program, the Society of Self-Reliance.

If herbal medicine and building a home apothecary is on your to-do list as well, I’ve got some great tips and a printable checklist of items you’ll want to start stocking up on now so you’re prepared to make all sorts of medicinal preparations in time for cold and flu season later this year.

This is also a great time to plant certain medicinal herbs so that you’ve got a personal, sustainable supply of herbal medicine at home, because who knows what supply chain issues are gonna hit next!

To help make building and stocking your home apothecary or natural medicine cabinet a little easier, I compiled a list of all the ingredients I like to keep on hand for making my own medicinal preparations, as well as a suggested list of herbs to start growing or stocking up on, and some other great resources to help you get started preparing and using your own herbal medicine at home.

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead to read the full article and download the checklist, or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/stock-a-home-apothecary/
...

34 1

Stinging nettles are one of my favourite things to forage for in early spring. They’re ready to harvest well before just about anything is ready in our garden, and they’re a superfood as well as a medicinal plant packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, B, C & K, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and iron, plus they’re super high in protein.

As a medicinal plant, nettles are a natural antihistamine and can help with season allergies, they have properties that reduce inflammation and especially joint inflammation and arthritis, they can be used to treat of urinary tract infections and enlarged prostate symptoms, the e been shown to lower blood pressure and control blood sugar and more!

Some people even swear by harvesting stinging nettles with their bare hands as the sting itself is said to help with muscle and joint pain/arthritis!

I, however, am not that brave. I definitely recommend wearing gloves, long sleeves, long pants and boots when harvesting stinging nettles! But the good news is that once you cook or dry the nettles, they no longer sting you. My favourite way to prepare them is to dry them and enjoy them as a herbal tea! But they’re good sautéed in stir fry or added to soups (in place of spinach or Kale) too. Whatever you do, just don’t put them fresh into a salad!

Stinging nettles grow wild all over North America (as well as other places), and spring is the best time to forage for them. To learn how to safely identify them, harvest them and prepare/preserve them, check out the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/harvest-and-use-stinging-nettles/

Have you ever foraged for stinging nettle before?
...

89 14

If you're looking to increase production in your own home garden, you know how important bees and other pollinators are to your overall yield.⁠

Honeybees get a lot of the glory, and for good reason: It's said that honeybees alone are responsible for pollinating 80% of our fruits and vegetables! Not to mention, they make honey... Sweet, glorious, highly nutritious and DELICIOUS honey!⁠

In this day and age of global food shortages, we need to do whatever we can to help increase food production at home and abroad, and helping honeybees is one of the best ways to do just that.⁠

Click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/3-easy-ways-to-help-save-the-bees/ to learn what you can do at home to help save the bees, and the many, MANY reasons why it matters!⁠
...

25 1

I don't know about you, but around here spring officially marks the beginning of what we call "busy season."⁠

I always remind myself, though, that the payoff from the work we put in at this time of year is so totally worth the extra elbow grease and long hours.⁠

The seeds we sow now will provide us with food and medicine to stock our pantry and apothecary with in the summer and fall.⁠

The projects we start now will (hopefully) be finished and ready to serve us later in the year.⁠

And the deep cleaning and organizing we do now in our homes will set the stage and the tone for the rest of the season.⁠

Personally, I don't operate very well in a disorganized, messy or dirty environment. Whether I'm working or just relaxing, if my home is in disarray I feel like I can't fully concentrate on or enjoy whatever I'm doing.⁠

For most of the year this means sticking to a daily routine of tidying up and light cleaning when necessary. But in the spring, I like to take a few days to deep clean our home so that the rest of the season runs smoother; So that when I'm in the thick of gardening and harvesting and preserving season, I'm not also contending with dirt and stains and pine needles from Christmas!⁠

That being said, I don't like to use any commercially produced chemical cleaners, so I always make sure to keep a few natural ingredients on hand to get the job done.⁠

Over the years I've tried a lot of store-bought "natural" cleaners, and honestly I haven't been impressed with most of them. In fact, I find some white vinegar, baking soda, dish soap, water and a few essential oils are all I really need to clean most of my house!⁠

If the spring cleaning bug has bit you too, be sure to check out my DIY Spring Cleaning Recipes via the link in my bio. Every recipe is made with simple, natural ingredients that you probably have on hand already. I also like to add essential oils to my cleaning products for their scent and natural cleaning and disinfecting power, but you can omit them if you like:)⁠

Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/spring-cleaning-recipes/
...

26 0

If there's one thing we should all be doing to hedge against looming food shortages and inflation right now, it's growing some of our own food at home.⁠

I've been preaching the many benefits of homegrown food for years now... Long before any of the madness we're currently experiencing took hold.⁠

A couple years ago when I launched my first gardening course, I mentioned in my sales video that we were just one emergency situation away from grocery store shelves being cleared out entirely. Within two weeks of that video, the pandemic hit, and the rest is history.⁠

The fact is, whether you're worried about shortages, the skyrocketing price of EVERYTHING, or you simply want to eat better, healthier foods free from GMOs and chemical sprays, learning how to grow even a little bit of your own organic food at home puts power and food security back in your hands.⁠

That's exactly why I’ve teamed up with 16+ other speakers for the Backyard Vegetable Gardener's Summit: A free, 3-day online event where you can learn how to get started or get better at growing food and creating your own personal grocery store, right in your own backyard!⁠

Here are just a few of the presentations coming up this week:⁠

🌱 7 Ways To Maximize Space In Your Urban Garden⁠
🌱 Creating a Personal Seed Bank⁠
🌱 How to Generate Income From Your Garden⁠
🌱 Easy Ways to Quickly Improve Your Garden Soil⁠
🌱 Indoor Container Gardening⁠
🌱 Growing Turmeric & Ginger at Home⁠
🌱 How to Use Succession Planting for Higher Yields⁠

And more!⁠

Plus, don't miss my masterclass where I teach you everything you need to know to grow a BUMPER CROP OF TOMATOES in your backyard! 🍅🍅🍅⁠

From starting your seeds to planting out and caring for your tomato plants all season long, I'll show you the exact method we use to grow hundreds of pounds of tomatoes at home for fresh eating and preserving each year.⁠

The summit officially starts TODAY! If you haven't registered yet, click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/bvgs to save your seat and start watching and learning right away!
...

83 3

“When I think of self-reliance, I think of any ability to rely less on ‘the system.’”

I sat down with Ashley Constance from @dirtypawshomestead and the @alittleselfreliant podcast to talk about what it means to be self-reliant, if it’s even possible to be 100% self-reliant and why it’s a goal worth striving for even if complete and total self-reliance isn’t possible.

Be sure to check out the full interview in the latest issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine!

Subscribe @ modernhomesteadingnmagazine.com

I’d love to know, what are you currently doing to become a little (more) self-reliant? Let me know in the comments!👇
...

27 2
This error message is only visible to WordPress admins
There has been a problem with your Instagram Feed.

© The House & Homestead | All Rights Reserved | Legal

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]