Did you know rain barrels have community as well as household benefits?

A rain barrel is a container that captures and stores rainwater draining from your roof. Barrels usually range from 50 to 80 gallons and have a spigot for filling watering cans and a connection for a soaker hose. Our design center has a rain barrel conveniently installed for watering our plants and trees. Here are our top 5 benefits of using a rain barrel as part of your eco-friendly gardening.

  1. Save Money. Reduce your water bill with a rain barrel’s water catch. A typical gardener can save as much as 1,300 gallons of water during the growing season. Landscape watering typically accounts for up to 40% of a homeowner’s water use during the summer.
  2. Reduce Runoff Pollution & Erosion. Runoff from rains pick up soil, oil, pesticides, fertilizers and other contaminates and push them to other areas. When these pollutants accumulate they contribute to algae growth in lakes and alter the habitat for fish and other aquatic wildlife which can also make lakes and oceans dangerous for humans and other mammals. Your rain catch will be especially helpful!
  3. Promote Plant & Soil Health. Rainwater is better for your landscaping because it’s highly oxygenated and more importantly free of salts, fluoride and inorganic ions. Use of rainwater in your garden also makes plants more drought-tolerant.
  4. Conserve Water. Storing rainwater can do a world of good for the environment. You’ll have your own water source in times of mild drought or watering restrictions. The average rainfall of one inch within a 24 hour period can produce more than 700 gallons of water that run off a typical house!
  5. Wash Cars & Windows. Rain water is free of calcium, chlorine, and lime making the water from your rain barrel a great option for washing your car. Since it’s soft water, it won’t hurt your car’s paint or damage windows. And, you’ll be saving some of that precious tap water for more practical uses, like drinking.

Easily estimate how many gallons of water you can collect with a Rainfall Harvest Calculator. We found a site that will do it for you Gardener’s Supply Company. Just enter the dimensions of your roof (note: only the section that drains into your barrel) and then, add the amount of rainfall in inches.

SAFETY NOTE:  Do not use collected water for drinking, cooking or bathing!