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Save water with this DIY rain barrel

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

Water with rainwater

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, here is a helpful overview.

This simple do-it-yourself rain barrel only takes a couple of hours to make. All you need is a heavy-duty commercial trash can (don’t get 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 for 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! Interested in additional ways to conserve water? Read our article on Five drought-tolerant lawn replacements.

Materials list

  • 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

rain-barrel-illustrations largeR

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Published: July 3, 2018

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.

GDT Garden Summit_zone6

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