Green Up Your Landscape Design with Rain Barrels
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
- 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
- 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
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
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