Home made rain
barrels are relatively easy to construct from 55-gallon drums and a few
other basic components.
The following is a simple construction sequence:
1.Drill holes for
drill three holes in the barrel. One for the spigot to connect
your garden house to the barrel and the other fittings to allow for more
barrels in the future. One of the barrels must have an overflow
fitting near the top of the barrel. If you plan on using 3/4 inch
fittings use a 1 inch hole saw to cut the holes. If you have an
adjustable hole saw make it a little smaller than 1 inch.
plumbing sealant on a 3/4 inch galvanized metal nipple and its threads.
Using a pair of locking pliers, thread the nipple into the barrel hole
for the fitting. [See picture below]
3.Cut the down spout
at the proper height.
You should place the rainbarrel on one or two concrete blocks and then
determine the proper height. After cutting the down spout attach
the necessary elbows and extensions to have the down spout reach the
barrel. Attach a 4 inch by 2 inch ABS plastic converter to the end
of the down spout and attach a fine mesh screen over the converter (you
can use a paint sprayer filter which you can get at a hardware store for
wish to add more barrels do so at this time. Attach a garden hose
Y fitting on the 3/4 inch nipples. Position the barrels on top of
the concrete blocks and cut the right length of garden hose to connect
the barrels (with male fittings attached to both ends).
Attach an overflow line on the first barrel. Place it near the top
of the barrel and attach it to hose or tube for any overflow. Note
that you must remove one of the two bung fittings on the top of the
barrel and cover it with a small screen. [See picture below]
Here’s a simple sequence for
constructing a cistern below ground:
hole to the required dimensions. This is usually done with a back
hoe. For example, 8 ft by 12 ft and 8 ft deep. Make sure the hole is
dug to the dimensions you desire or your storage will be seriously
2.Pour the cistern
floor. First form up the floor of the cistern much as you would a
sidewalk, driveway or other flat work. Construct a rectangular
framework from 2 x 4s and secure it with 2 x 4 stakes driven into
the ground at intervals of about 2 feet.
3.Form the cistern
walls. The cistern walls should be constructed by first building the
outside forms and then installing #6 rebar wired together on an
approximate 1 foot grid. Set the grid into the holes bored into the
concrete floor of the cistern with a hammer drill. With the
reinforcing grid in place build the inside forms. Make sure the
walls are adequately braced and then pour the concrete.
4.Let the concrete
set for the required time period recommended by the manufacturer and
then remove the forms.
5.Seal the inside
of the cistern, a Portland-based product with a latex additive is
recommended, possibly Damtite, or another acceptable alternative
available at your local building supply store.
6.Create the lid
and hatches. The lid can be made of any acceptable material but
should fit snuggly to keep potential pest from entering.