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Save Water With This DIY Rain Barrel

By: Sherri RibbeySherri Ribbey
Looking for your next garden project? We have the full instructions for a DIY rain barrel out of a heavy-duty trash can.

DIY Rain barrel made out of a heavy-duty trash can: Build a DIY rain barrel to save money on watering your garden.

Take advantage of rainwater with a DIY rain barrel

Nothing beats rainwater for keeping plants healthy. It contains more oxygen than tap water and helps release micronutrients in the soil. So saving what comes off your roof not only saves you a bit of cash, it makes the garden healthier — if you want to learn more about using harvested rainwater in your garden, especially when considering use in your vegetable garden, here's a helpful overview from Rutgers State University on rain water usage.

Check for state regulations

Certain states have regulations around use of rain barrels, be sure to check local ordinances before you get started.

What you need for a DIY rain barrel

This simple DIY rain barrel only takes a couple of hours to make. All you need is a heavy-duty commercial trash can (don’t bother with an inexpensive can — the flimsy plastic gets deformed when it’s full) and a few plumbing supplies. Take a glance at the materials and tools lists and the helpful illustration of how it all fits together. Then click through the slideshow below for helpful step-by-step instructions. Soon you’ll be on your way to a happier garden — and you’ll be happy, too, when you see that smaller water bill!

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DIY rain barrel materials list

  • Heavy-duty commercial trash can
  • 1¾-in. hose bibb, male threads
  • 1 female hose connector
  • 1 male hose mender
  • 1 female pipe connector
  • 1 1-in. fender washer
  • 1 plastic downspout adapter
  • 1-sq.-ft. 16x18 fiberglass window screen
  • 1 4-in. hose clamp
  • 2 1-in. conduit straps
  • 4 #8 ½ -in. sheet metal screws
  • 1 4-ft. length of garden hose (or longer)
  • Downspout elbows or flexible adapter
  • 5-minute epoxy
  • Silicone sealant
  • Concrete blocks for base


  • Drill
  • 1-in. spade bit
  • 1¼-in. spade bit
  • Utility knife
  • Screwdriver

DIY Rain Barrel Assembly Illustration: DIY Rain Barrel Assembly Illustration

DIY Rain barrel step-by-step

Click through the slideshow to see the steps to create your own rain barrel along with some helpful tips.

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Published: July 3, 2018
Updated: March 3, 2021

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work in the garden. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.


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backyard budget friendly project water wise watering

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