I have a perfect run-off spot that would be ideal for a rain barrel. I’ve been wanting one for a few years now, but most I see are pretty ugly. I do my best to keep my garden elements natural looking and I don’t want some ugly blue barrel in the midst of it!
When I was at the Minneapolis Home and Garden Show this year, I picked up a brochure from a gutter company. (I’m just getting around to digging through all the stuff I collected at the show.)
They have a basic blue barrel, but they also create decorative barrels to match your home’s exterior using long-lasting cedar wood and aluminum. Each barrel is made of good quality plastic with a metal spigot and overflow, and a screen covering the entrance hole keeps insects and debris out.
You can add a decorative and functional hand pump that allows for rain water to be carried to different locations, such as indoor plants. Also available is an oxygen pump that fully saturates water with oxygen in fifteen to twenty minutes. Oxygenated water attacks fungus at the roots and helps plants grow.
There are no prices on their Web site, but there is contact information and more information here: Minneapolis Rain Barrel .
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Most rain barrels I’ve found are hundreds of dollars…more than I want to spend. Being the bargain hunter I am :-), I did a bit of digging and found some reasonably priced, attractive alternatives for you to check out.
I think I might try the collapsible one since my run-off is right by my back door and this way I can put it away for the winter.
If you are going to get a barrel and create your own, be sure the barrel is food-safe. Here’s a how-to video from the Three Minute Gardener/Penn State University using a plastic barrel: Watch Video (will open in new window)
Since most DIY rain barrels are made using a recycled container of some sort, they are pretty ugly. Try getting wire mesh from your local hardware store. Put it around your barrel and grow some vining plants on it to make it blend into your garden better.
The spot I want a rain barrel is without a gutter downspout at the corner of my house so I think I can use a rain chain to divert the water into a barrel. Now I’m on a quest to find some rain chains that are $50 or less, or maybe I can make one myself.