With the shift to an environmentally conscious lifestyle in full swing and water bans an annual summer event, watering your garden has gone from second-nature to a verboten activity. So how do you keep your garden in bloom when the only water you should use falls from the sky? Install a rain barrel, of course!
A rain barrel is the perfect way to keep your lawn green and your plants happy. Instead of spending the summer struggling to water your garden without reaching for the garden hose, a rain barrel collects the rain runoff from your roof via the downspout and stores it until you need it.
While not a guarantee against drought periods, having a rain barrel in your garden is a smart way to avoid turning on the tap. A 10- by 10-foot roof will shed approximately 2,300 litres of water per inch of rainfall. Normally, all of that runoff would head to the storm sewer, but a rain barrel can divert and store hundreds of litres of water at a time. That’s a lot of free water!
The benefits of using a rain barrel are more than just environmental; using rainwater instead of treated tap water is much healthier for your garden, as it has less chlorine and salt than is found in hose water. And by capturing water before it gets to the sewer, you’ll help prevent erosion and other problems caused by heavy runoff while saving on your water bill.
Ready for a greener garden the natural way? We’ve rounded up some of the best rain barrels for your garden, just in time for spring!
Fiskars rain barrelWhy this barrel rocks: The downspout diverter prevents the barrel from overflowing; when the barrel is full, water is automatically diverted back down the downspout. It also has a handy flattened back to sit flush against the house.
The Waubesa model (shown) is available at Canadian Tire in the spring.
handytankWhy this barrel rocks: These barrels are huge! Made of a PVC bladder supported by a steel frame, the handytank can hold anywhere from 450 to 1,000 litres of water. Not only is the handytank portable (it comes flat-packed to fit in your car and relocates easily) but two can be linked together with a hose to collect even more rainwater. Your garden will never go wilty again!
Launching in Canada this spring; visit their website for retailers.
Algreen Products' Agua rain barrel with planterWhy this barrel rocks: This terracotta-finish plastic barrel collects your rainwater and looks extremely pretty doing it. Plant trailing vines or bright flowers in the built-in planter for the perfect marriage of form and function.
Available at RONA, select Home Hardware stores and online at GardenSuperMart.com.
Do-It-Yourself rain barrel faucetWhy this barrel rocks: You made it yourself! Turn any watertight container (even a plastic garbage can) into a rain barrel with this handy spout.
Available at Rittenhouse.
Must-own rain barrel accessory
Hook this handy watering kit up to your brand-spanking-new rain barrel and let gravity do the work for you.