Rain Barrels. Who knew that I would become fixated on them? My first rain barrel was nothing special. Just a big plain plastic barrel. Having lived and traveled in war affected countries, and having gone through multiple storms here where the power was off for days at a time, my original thought was to have a rain barrel so we would have water “just in case” of an emergency. Well, two years passed and no need. I considered using the barrel to draw water for my container patio pots as that would not only lighten my carbon foot print but also my water bill. But the side yard where we placed the barrel was a nightmare due to neglect, resulting in a jungle-like mess that I avoided like the plague.
So this year I decided to get the side yard cleared out and the rain barrel in use. After a weekend of clearing the weeds and acorns turning into trees, we laid down landscaping fabric, hauled up the hill 3.5 tons of pebbles (bucket by bucket by my husband Patrick), set down stone path pavers, lined the borders of the side yard with lumber, planted some flowers in the planters and mulched the planters.
Then we raised the rain barrel with bricks, added some solar lights and we were ready to go! Now I use the rain barrel to water my entire patio container garden and I am very happy. I call the side yard my zen garden.
I was on a roll. Why have only one rain barrel when you can have two? We have two small ponds in the backyard and I figured we could save on the water bill by installing a rain barrel to catch the rain water from the shed near the ponds. I found one that was attractive, had a flower planter space on top of it and would look nice next to our ponds. We installed it, using nice pavers as a platform, and planted flowers on top and around it. Patrick ditched the old metal tubing and built one out of bamboo for the water to travel from the gutters down to the rain barrel.
Now that we had a rain barrel to water our back yard patio container garden and one to fill up our two small ponds, I needed one to water our front porch flower pots. Lugging gallons of water from the kitchen, across the living room and out to the porch was a chore. Not to mention it was quite messy too with all the slopping water on the wood floors.
Patrick and I were looking at images of rain barrels on-line when we came across one made of wood. Patrick was inspired. He used a pond liner to serve as the receptacle for the water. Then he picked up some cedar wood planks (closet liners were adapted) for the frame.Then Patrick picked up the hardware for the spigot and overflow valve and we were off and running.
Then in a bit of a creative flash, Patrick decided to install a fountain on top. So he picked up a bucket that he hung from the top of the rain barrel with plastic chains, drilled holes in the bottom of the bucket so it would not float and then installed a fountain motor. (Love sitting on the porch listening to the bubbling sound. Very relaxing.) To top it all off, Patrick used polymer clay to craft a flower for decoration. You can see the result at the top of this post. Three rain barrels so far. Two more to go……………