Here in the high dessert of Idaho, it doesn’t rain a lot so when it does, I want to make sure and capture as much of it as possible. Especially when the two barrels we are installing as part of the alley project will be for the use of anyone in the block to water the edible garden that’s being installed. So in other words, size mattered.

My brother had sourced one of these 210 gallon barrels for my backyard a few years back from Custom Roto-Molding. Just a few other supplies and this project goes together in a flash.

Installing a rain barrel

Materials you’ll need to build it like we did
• Rain barrel (of course) – the one here holds 210 gallons of water
• Concrete blocks – we used eight 12˝x16˝ corner blocks
• Colander
• Gutter piece – depends on how it will connect to existing gutter
• Adapters to fit spigot to barrel
• Spigot
• Plumbers tape
Tools that will be useful
• Tamper
• Level

I know it’s tempting to just throw the blocks down, plop the barrel on top and call it a day, but if we’re going to do this, let’s do it right so that we have something that not only looks good but functions well too.installing-a-rain-barrel-baseStart by leveling the ground and tamping it down to make a base. Next layer the blocks in two rows altering the direction of them for added stability. Having the water tank up on blocks allows for a hose to be used or is the perfect height to fill a watering can.

rain-barrel-installedRedirect the gutter so that the water will flow to the rain barrel. Your gutter configuration will dictate what pieces you need to make this happen. In this case we were lucky enough to just remove the end cap from the existing gutter and use a piece of flexible gutter material for the redirect. To trap any debris, we just used a plastic colander from the dollar store.


The outlet in the tank we had was 2″ so we used a reducer to size it down for our 3/4˝ faucet. Use plumbers tape for a little extra insurance for a tight fitting that won’t leak.

Now hope that you get a big rain storm to fill that baby up!

rain barrel-finished

TIP: For colder climates, in the fall make sure to drain the rain barrel, and seal the top with the lid. Leave the drain open so if any moisture does get in that it will run out.