Catch rainwater with rain barrels to use in the garden – St George News

Elevate your water butt for easier access to the tap for filling containers and using gravity to speed water flow, location and date not shown | Photo courtesy of MelindaMyers.com, St. George News

CHARACTERISTIC – Use rainwater in your landscape with the help of rain barrels. This centuries-old technique allows you to capture rainfall to use to water ornamental gardens and containers.

Always start by calling your local authority. Some have restrictions on water collection, but most encourage the practice and some even offer rebates or water butts at a discounted rate.

Buy a rain barrel or make your own from a large, food-grade, recycled container. Either way, there are a few features to consider when purchasing, creating, and adding a rain barrel to your landscape.

Make sure the top is covered to keep bugs and debris out. Some come with a solid lid with an opening just big enough to accommodate the downspout. Others use a screen to keep dirt out while letting the rain in.

Don’t worry about mosquitoes breeding in your water butt. Just use an organic mosquito repellent like Mosquito Dunks and Mosquito Bits in rain barrels and other water features. Mosquito Bits quickly knock down the mosquito larvae population, while Mosquito Dunks provide 30-day control. They are both safe for humans, pets, fish, wildlife, and beneficial insects.

Archive image | Photo by Unsplash, St George News

Look for one with the spigot near the bottom of the barrel so the water doesn’t stagnate in the bottom. Use the tap to fill watering cans or attach a hose for watering.

Include an overflow near the top of the barrel to divert excess water away from the house or to connect adjacent barrels. A downspout diverter is another way to manage overflow from water butts. When the rain barrels are full, this device directs the water back to the downspout, where it is carried away from your home’s foundation.

Elevate your water butt on cement blocks, decorative stands, or similar supports. This facilitates access to the tap for filling containers and accelerates the flow of water with the help of gravity. A water pump increases the water pressure for a nice, even flow of water.

Adorn your container with some paint suitable for outdoor use on plastic surfaces. And don’t worry if you’re not an artist, you can hide your rain barrels with some decorative screens or plants or upright shrubs, perennials or ornamental grasses. Just make sure you have easy access to the spout to fetch water.

Start your transition to water butts one downspout at a time. They can catch up to 623 gallons of water from 1,000 square feet of roof in a one-inch rain. This can be a lot to deal with when you’re first getting used to this habit change. Disconnecting one downspout at a time allows you to successfully adapt the use of rain barrels and other rain collection techniques to suit your garden style and schedule.

The choices are many, making it easy for you to save water and grow a beautiful landscape.

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