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How To Make A Rain Barrel

Here are the four key components to a rain barrel:


Select a used or new closed-head polyethylene barrel. If used, make sure you know what was in the barrel before you got it. Closed head is important because of the safety issues posed by open-head barrels.

30 gallons is adequate for many people but 55 gallons is just as common.


Your rain barrel needs a stand to elevate it 6” off the ground so that rain water leaving your barrel through a hose connection descends into your soaker hose under that much more pressure.


You will also need a hose connection with shut-off valve and a ¾” pipe threaded on one end. Attach the valve to the pipe before attempting to install it in the side of your barrel. When ready, drill a hole in the side of your barrel about 2” up from its bottom and test fit your pipe in the hole; it should be a snug fit but don’t worry if its not perfect.

Next, apply a good caulk/sealant to the inside of the barrel through the hole you just drilled. Rub it around the inside with your finger. Also apply the caulk/sealant to the joint where your pipe meets your valve. Slide the pipe into the hole all the way until the valve butts up against the barrel.

Make sure your valve shut-off is in the correct position as you will not want to have to reposition it later, after the caulk/sealant has dried, or you will break the seal you are creating. Let the caulk/sealant dry and cure for at least 24 hours – more if the manufacturer recommends it.

Seamermate is a good choice and small tubes are available at many home improvement stores in the gutter & downspout section.


Most downspouts in the U.S. are either rectangular and measure 2” x 3” or 3” x 4” or round and measure 3” or 4”. Decide which one you have and then go shopping for a good aluminum diverter to connect your downspout to your rain barrel. Some diverters are specifically made to handle over-flow, which will save you time and effort, so bear this in mind.

You will likely have to cut your downspout in order to attach your diverter. Aluminum gutters cut easily with a hacksaw. When you cut your downspout you should wear gloves and safety glasses and take your time. Do not be surprised by the sound – it will be very loud.

If you do not have carpentry experience or are not in good health, higher a professional installer to install your diverter for you.

That’s it ! Now remember – it’s your rain !