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Green Up Your Landscape Design with Rain Barrels

Green Up Your Landscape Design with Rain Barrels

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March 8, 2010

Rain barrels are a lovely and practical way to "go green" with landscape design. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, watering your lawn and garden accounts for up to 40 percent of all water usage during the summer months. All that watering pulls precious resources from the water supply, and to add insult to injury, the cost of all that lush greenery is evident in your monthly water bill.

Ready to Choose a Rain Barrel?

When you decide to take the plunge into water conservation, you might be overwhelmed by the rain barrel options. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Water barrels are available in many different sizes, but the standard is a 55-gallon or 75-gallon barrel. The choices in appearance vary widely as well, from top-of-the-line whiskey barrels to simple plastic drums. The curb appeal you want and the budget you have can help you decide on a rain barrel style.
  • Consider the size of the area you intend to water in order to determine how many rain barrels you need. For a small backyard garden, one barrel might be enough. But if you live in an area where drought conditions are common, consider placing more rain barrels.
  • Don't like the rain barrel options you've seen in the store? Make your own with a food-grade drum, vinyl tubing, PVC couplings, a cover screen, and other basic items.
  • Take a good look at your roof and gutter system. In order to make the most of your rain barrels, your gutters and downspouts should be in good repair and free of any debris. When winter months roll around, flush out your rain barrels very well to remove any sediment that may have accumulated in the bottom.
  • Position your rain barrel underneath the downspouts that channel the most water during rains. Keep in mind that a 1000-square-foot roof can yield 600 gallons of water during a good rainstorm, so if your rain barrel is enclosed, you need an overflow valve and a way to direct water away from the foundation of your home.
  • Worried about mosquitoes setting up shop in your rain barrels? The mosquito donut is an essential rain barrel accessory. Created of benign bacteria, the donut simply floats in your rain barrel and effectively kills all mosquito larvae before they reach adulthood.

Rain barrels can help maintain your gorgeous green lawn and garden while helping you "go green" at the same time. Saving the environment and your money--what's not to love?

About the author: Shannon Dauphin is a freelance writer based near Nashville, Tennessee. Her house was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her hobbies.

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