Why Use Rain Barrels

Rain Barrel

Rain, rain, go away.

Away from my foundation, that is. I like rain, but I also like my house to stay where it should be.

Hi, Pete Moss here reminding you that this can be a  problem across Colorado. Our soils are such that you really do need to watch how water coming off your house drains away. I found out the hard way.

Many years ago, we had very poor drainage that allowed water to pool against a garage wall. One particularly wet year led to the foundation sinking a few inches down. Now the floor in my garage has huge cracks in it, it’s not level and the garage doors are not square. Add to that the foundation repair where we had to jack-up the garage, add concrete blocks and re-mortar. I sure do wish I had thought more about drainage.

Now my gutters and downspouts drain well away from my house and run downhill where they can do no harm to my foundation.

I didn’t have this option at the time, but, as of August 2016, Colorado residents may use rain barrels, to catch rain water and use that water for irrigation. You may have up to two barrels adding up to 110 gallons worth, which catch water coming off your roof or gutter system. You may only use the water you collect for garden and landscape irrigation.

Great! Now what? Well this is where those helpful folks at your local Ace Hardware come in. They can help you get a setup that works well for your garden. In Colorado, your Ace Hardware store may not actually stock rain barrels yet, but they can all order them and get them quickly. There are several sizes and styles to choose from. Many are designed to sit up against a house, and they look nice, not like a used blue plastic barrel or an old trash can.

So I have my barrel full of water, now what? Some barrels have a hose spigot near the bottom so you can just hook up a garden hose and drain it in to your garden. This works well if gravity is in your favor. I have also used barrels full of water (no not in Colorado) with a submersible pump at the bottom attached to a garden hose. This worked very well for me when I was faced with an uphill climb to get the water where I needed it.

I have also seen set-ups with a pump, leading off to drip irrigation lines. This worked really well for landscaping plants. The barrel would fill, then a few days later when it was dry out, switch on the pump to run the drip lines. The plants loved it!

I have a feeling there will be many more solutions like these soon in Colorado and we’ll have many more options as to what to do with that wonderful water that can be so scarce here. Remember, Colorado is a state that gets 100% of its water from the sky.

Let’s all go have a [rain] barrel of fun!