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 barrel
Why 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. I like this feature where space is limited. The overflow feature can be diverted into a second barrel if you like!
The Waubesa model (shown) is available at Canadian Tire in the spring
Algreen Products’ Agua rain barrel with planter
Why 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. I like this one because the drain is right at the bottom, so you get all the water out in the fall. The little planter on the top is great for a little herb garden or project area for kids with green thumbs!