Use Rain Barrels to Drench Your Garden and Save Water

This story first appeared on EcoSalon.

April showers bring May flowers – and an opportunity to give your garden a healthy drink without chipping away at your efforts to conserve water. Why not get some rain barrels and collect the runoff from your gutters that would otherwise go to waste?

Although any old 55-gallon drum or keg will do, there’s no reason to litter your yard with tattered or rusty castoffs. Instead, give your local water department a call – many townships offer water barrels free of charge to local residents. Those that don’t often hold workshops on other ways to conserve water, or offer incentives to citizens willing to secure barrels on their own.

If you’re feeling feisty, make your own rain water collection system for about the price of a lunchtime panini and iced chai tea. Position them underneath your gutters’ downspouts and snag the runoff during the next rainfall. As the smart folks at Sustainablog point out, even if you filter it first, the water you collect is better suited for drenching thirsty garden than slaking a parched throat.

If you’d rather just buy a rain barrel, there are some really neat ones available online. Go southwestern with a terra cotta rain catcher outfitted with its own spigot, or consider this swanky-chic barrel created by Dutch designer Bas van der Veer, and unearthed by Re-nest.


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