Okay, “system” is probably an overstatement, but…

These days, with the summers getting hotter and hotter, exterior watering is becoming more and more important for keeping things like grass, flowers, and of course the garden alive. And of course, watering indoor plants is also an ongoing task. Traditionally, this water comes from the city water supply, despite the fact that residential water is substandard for plants because it is:

  1. hard
  2. chlorinated
  3. very cold

Collecting rainwater is an ideal solution for this problem. First and foremost, it’s free. Plus, this water is of higher quality (for plants), as it is soft and already at room temperature. And, as a wannabe environmentalist, it makes me feel good to know that I’m helping to conserve water.

Now, in order to build a working system, I needed a few things:

  1. A decent sized water barrel.
  2. A kit for installing a spigot in said barrel.
  3. A diverter kit for the downspout.
  4. A stand on which to perch the barrel.

Now, I was fortunate enough that my mom was able to provide me with a 200L barrel that fit my needs perfectly. As for the spigot and diverter kits, I actually ran across one at Rona, if I recall.

As for the stand, I wanted to raise the barrel up a couple feet in order to provide better access to the spigot, as well as to improve water pressure when used in conjunction with a hose. However, this stand needed to be able to support the weight of a full barrel, which is roughly 200kg (440lbs). Fortunately, having just finished the main part of our Cedar Deck, I had a bunch of spare materials from which to build the stand.

The end result of all this is seen below:

You can see the diverter run from the downspout into the barrel. In addition, I installed an overflow hose at the top of the barrel, which runs back out to the downspout (the diverter kit will actually handle overflow automatically with sufficient backpressure, however my barrel setup isn’t sealed, and so I didn’t believe the backpressure provided would be sufficient). Additionally, you can see how I used a sidewalk block to provide a stable surface for the barrel (I also attached the stand to the deck, in order to prevent tipping).