As featured on:
I have wanted rain-barrels forever. They make so much sense! Why waste clean drinking water on plants and grass? Why pay for something that is free?
I like free.
But as they say, you have to spend money to
make save money, so when the opportunity came up to buy a pair of old white-oak whiskey barrels off some guy on Kijiji, I didn’t pass it up.
Here they are, delivered for $200.
To turn the whiskey barrels into rain barrels, I also had to buy two Earth Minded DIY Rain Barrel kits from the BEST store on the planet, Canadian Tire. They were $30 each.
The kit includes everything you need to make the rain barrel; hoses, spigot, rubber gaskets, even the hole saws. The only tools we needed were an electric drill, a leveller, measuring tape, a long screw (important!), a pencil, work gloves and safety glasses.
The barrels need to be placed within 3 feet of a down spout on a level surface. We had some old pavers lying around and used those to set the barrels on.
The kit came with detailed instructions, and we also found this video very helpful.
One snag in the process was that the wood of our barrel was thicker than the hole saws were deep. Liam figured out a solution fairly quickly. Just saw as far as you can in the wood and stop. Insert your long screw into the drill hole so it gets a good grip, then twist and pull. The whiskey-soaked wood should splinter easily releasing a large layer. Go back with the whole saw and cut in the rest of the way.
Last year Ottawa experienced a drought for much of the summer. We were told to stop watering our lawns and gardens. Then there was a rash of house fires caused by the extremely dry conditions of people’s lawns, and we were told to start watering again! This year I will be prepared with gallons of stored rain water to partial out during the hot dry days.
Plastic barrels can of course be purchased in garden centres everywhere, but these don’t always look great and aren’t cheap either. For $130 a piece and one afternoons work, I am very pleased with the aesthetic of my barrels. They add character and history to my yard while helping to simultaneously save a precious resource … and on my water bill!