rain barrel in backyard with downspout attached to top of rain barrel
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How to Collect Rainwater for the Garden

Plants require the most water when the weather is hot, dry, windy, and water resources becoming scarce.
Climate Change
and population expansion are putting a strain on water supplies. As a result, gardeners should strive to use their primary water supply as rarely as possible.

Dwindling water resources increase the cost to use that water for watering gardens, plants, and shrubbery.

That makes implementing a rainwater collection for your garden an attractive option. You are storing water when you least need it giving you control over watering needs.

Rainwater is also beneficial for your plants since it has a lower pH than tap water. The minerals contained in municipal water, particularly in hard water locations, might alter the pH of your root zone, affecting nutrient availability. Rainwater is very beneficial to plants like azaleas.

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Components to Harvest Rainwater

The collection of rainwater is composed of three components of any rainwater harvesting.

  • Collecting Water (Area)-If you have a roof, you have a collection area. Roofs of houses, garages, greenhouses, barns, and other garden structures make for an excellent water collecting area. Roughly calculate how much water your plants will require and whether your roof can handle it. Easy Formula to Remember: 1″ of rain on 1,000 square feet of roof will yield 623 gallons.
  • The Transportation of water- To transport the water off the roof, utilize gutters and downspouts that run along the edges of your roof. Aluminum or vinyl gutters and downspouts are available in the market. Your house may already have gutters installed. In most US areas, gutter installation is reasonable depending on models and leaf guard features selected. DIY is also possible as local hardware stores sell straight gutter sections. Use a fine-mesh aluminum window screen to filter out debris and in places where mosquitos are a problem to keep the insects away out of the rainwater barrel.
  • Storage for water- Water storage barrels or tanks can capture and hold rainwater for the dry months. Tanks come in many sizes and varieties to meet your storage needs. Water shortages in many US areas have resulted in local utility companies offering rebates or discounted barrels for utility members. I would recommend checking the utility company first for a storage container. When it comes to storage, I like to point out some things to consider when determining your needs.

Rain Barrels or Water Butt


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Rain barrels available through catalogs or garden or feed stores. Depending on the style and aesthetics, prices range from approximately $100 or more.

Place barrels beneath a downspout that is also close to your garden or shrubbery area. Another consideration is the surface underneath the rain barrel.

Depending on the size of your rain barrel, consider putting a good foundation underneath it. Steps would include removing grass and weeds where the tank will sit. Edge the area with metal edging and add pea gravel to promote adequate drainage. As the barrel fills and adds weight, it will settle, so a good foundation is essential.

It is possible to achieve water pressure by raising higher off the ground. I placed mine on cinder blocks. Raising the barrels also raises the fixture off the ground, allowing you to fill a watering underneath it.

In the UK, a Water Butt is a rainwater harvester with a medium or small capacity for limited home usage in the garden or yard.

It can store water of fewer than 100 gallons, which means it will fit neatly in your yard from your home or shed downspout.

The shape of a water butt is generally cylindrical, trapezoid, or rectangular cuboid allowing water butts to fit against walls and into corners. The majority of water butts are constructed of plastic or recycled plastic and have a tap. Some come with a stand, while others require you to purchase one separately.

It is possible to connect multiple barrels to expand capacity in the future. Keep this in mind when selecting a location.

Water Tanks


A water tank is a larger rainwater harvester that’s placed underground or kept above ground. These systems can offset a significant portion of your water needs for your home and garden, depending on size.storage tank 500x443 1 The Rain Gauge

In specific commercial and industrial settings, rainwater tanks may be as large as 50,000 liters. The majority of water tanks consist of thick plastic, some of which are recycled and custom-built.

Final Thoughts and Tips


Water harvesting is a great way to conserve water. It’s a practice of sustainability as old as time. Capturing water in times of excess and using it in a controlled manner is smart.

Water sustainability saves money on costly water bills and keeps your plants looking great in dry seasons. Even harvesting small amounts makes a difference to our environment.

Here are a few bonus tips to avoid any pitfall of collecting water worth mentioning.

  • Mosquitoes: During the summer, mosquitoes may be a real pain. They grow fast and can become a nuisance if you don’t take precautions to keep their number under control. Mosquitoes deposit their eggs near standing water. One of the most effective ways to help avoid mosquitoes in your yard is to eliminate stagnant water sources around your home. Turn over buckets, garbage can lid, and tarps that might collect water.
  • Drainage– It’s possible to collect more water than your storage capacity. Most systems have an overflow outlet. Check to see whether any locations where water might collect after rain. Consider filling in any spots prone to water collection with soil to level off the surface and eliminate the problem.
  • Gutters: It is also critical to maintaining your gutter system and eliminating sources of standing water. Leaves and other debris can accumulate in your gutters and downspouts, causing water to accumulate throughout the system.

Please leave any feedback or comments below regarding harvesting rainwater.

Featured Image credit “rain barrel 021” by roger_mommaerts is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license,

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