DIY- Rain Barrel Stand and Installation
The recent North Carolina drought and subsequent water shortage in the Raleigh area is still fresh on our minds as we head into a new summer season, already in a rain deficit. Last year we installed a TwoDrips 275-gallon rain tank on our front gutters and it’s worked great for washing cars and watering plants, but we also need something a little more convenient for watering our container garden on the back deck. Above is the deck corner that will work perfectly with a little downspout redirecting.Here is the rain barrel stand design I came up with to elevate the barrel as high as the space would allow, about 3 feet, built out of treated lumber. Keep in mind that the rain barrel, in our case a 60 gallon tank purchased from a local nursery, will be very heavy and will require an extremely stout base. 1 gallon of water weighs 8.33 lbs, so 60 gals would be about 500 lbs. Although putting this weight on a deck is not ideal, it is the only space that would work in our situation so the bracing below on the deck was reinforced to compensate for the additional weight. 3′ tall 4×4 posts form the main stand corner supports, 2×6’s form the top outer frame. 2×4 joists closely spaced form the bottom supports for the base of the barrel, and as you can see in the detail, they are recessed a few inches inside the top frame to allow the base of the barrel to fit snugly inside the frame without the chance of sliding off. The 4×4 inside corners were trimmed also to fit the barrel base.One modification that I added to our rain barrel was the addition of a much larger overflow drain. The existing overflow was sized for a garden hose, way too small for the volume of water that comes off our roof, especially during a decent rainfall. 3″ black PVC pipe was chosen, and should handle a heavy rainfall (black was chosen over white PVC merely for the aesthetics).Black 3″ PVC drain termination parts, and a square of vinyl screen to keep mosquitoes out.Be sure to add a silicone or similar caulk sealant where the drain terminates into the barrel. The screen can be held in place between the two coupling ends that are screwed together on either side of the barrel.After staining the stand with a nice weather resistant rosewood stain, we are ready to hook up the downspout and drain assemblies.The overflow drain assembly shown completed, the remaining pieces sealed with PVC pipe cement. The downspout parts connecting to the overhead gutter are then assembled and sealed with a gutter sealant to prevent leaks. To secure the downspout in place to the top of the rain barrel I improvised a cable strap secured to eyelet screws and small cable clamps as seen in the above image.The completed rain barrel and stand should now give us enough height to allow easy watering. All I need to add now to complete the design is a hook to hang the hose from, and a little rain would be helpful to ween us off of Raleigh NC city water completely for the container garden!
Update 5/20: A few heavy rainfalls later and the intake and overflow screens are getting clogged with pollen and fine debris washing in from the gutters, so have had to clean them a few times. Solution: drilling a few extra (narrow) intake holes on the top of the barrel, and relocating the overflow screen from inside the barrel to the end of the overflow pipe on the outside to allow for more frequent cleaning. Also, am clamping a length of a panty hose leg over the end of the downspout to catch the fine particulate before it clogs the barrel screens. This is a system that has worked great on our 275 gallon tank: simply unclamp the hose periodically and empty in a trash can.
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