Easy Rain Barrel System we built with spare lumber and trash cans and some PVC. What I like about this rain barrel system is that you don’t have to go buy or find some rain barrels, you just go to the hardware store and buy some garbage cans. Done.
How to build a rain barrel system
Below is a slide show of photos I took while we assembled the rain barrels. The exact dimensions of your project will vary, depending on the size of your trash cans and how high up in the air you want to put your system.
Important: Be sure to screen the slot where the downspout enters the barrel or use mosquito dunks to control mosquito breeding.
A list of the items used:
- 2″ male and female electrical PVC connectors to attach the PVC drain pipe to the trash cans
- 2″ PVC plumbing pipe to connect the rain barrels to the garden hose spigot. The length of pipe you need depends on your trash cans and the stand you build.
- Two 2″ PVC 90 degree elbows
- One 2″ PVC T connector
- One 2″ PVC 30 degree elbow
- Assorted PVC adapters to fit the garden hose spigot to the end of the PVC pipe
- One each 3″ male and female electrical PVC connectors for overflow pipe
- One 3″ PVC street elbow for overflow
- Various 3″ PVC elbows to divert overflow to where you want it to drain.
- Sections of downspout pipe to connect downspout diverter to your rain barrel system
- Quality silicone bathtub caulk
We built the stand for the rain barrels out of scrap lumber. Be sure to build the stand to support a heavy load, and do not site the rain barrels where they could fall over, they are heavy! If the stand is sitting on soft earth, put bricks or pavers underneath the legs of the stand.
The top of the stand has a gap in the middle of it for the pipe that comes out of each rain barrel, plan for this ahead of time.
Our overflow pipe is 3″, which might be overkill for some designs. This system takes in water from a large flat roof, and in a hard downpour, a smaller overflow pipe would be overwhelmed, we believe. If you are doing rainwater collection from a smaller roof, your overflow pipe could be smaller.