Rain Barrels: DIY or Buy

Are you considering Rain Barrels: DIY or Buy for your home?

We bought our rain barrels but you can DIY rain barrels relatively easy also. I’m sharing both options with you to help you decide.

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Rain Barrels DIY or Buy. Comparison at intelligentdomestications.com

Option 1: Buy

We  purchased our rain barrels a few years ago. We live in a rural area and have well water rather than city water so water conservation is an important factor to us. Our rain barrels are great for those hot dry days in summer when our shrubs and flowers are in need of watering.

Heavy rain splashing out of the Rain Barrell

The photo above is one of our rain barrels during a heavy rain. The barrel is already full so the rain splashes off the top. This would happen with any rain barrel without an overflow hose, and possibly with one in especially heavy rainfall.  Notice the base which is actually made of concrete and wood. A good sturdy base is important.

Rain Barrell installed.intelligentdomestications.comWe selected attractive rain barrels with a place on top for plants. It is a good idea in theory but when the barrel gets full and the rain doesn’t stop, the plants suffer from too much water as you can see from the look of these pansies. It’s not a deal breaker though. I just haven’t planted flowers on top of the rain barrel anymore.

We are very happy with the use and function of our rain barrels. We placed one in the front of the house and one in the back which so far has been sufficient for us. We do not use a pumping system for ours relying instead on the natural flow thus the need to create a tall sturdy base.

Option 2: DIY

DIY Rain Barrel from Our Secondhand House

Bonnie at Our Secondhand House has a very easy to follow DIY tutorial for the above rain barrel. She includes step by step photo’s and a full list of supplies needed. They added an overflow hose at the top of the rain barrel which is nice. Go HERE for the full tutorial.

Whether you Buy or DIY, here are a three important factors to consider before installing a rain barrel.

Three Important Factors


Consider your location carefully. You will want your rain barrel located in a place which provides ease of harvest in relation to what you will be watering. Will  you be filling containers and hauling the water to various locations across the yard?


How will you be collecting the rain into the barrel? Downspouts are the most ideal method but you could also use a rain chain.


The base for your rain barrel needs to be very sturdy to support the weight of a full rain barrel. It also needs to be a good height to allow the rain water to flow out with ease if you are not using a pumping system. Do you want to fill a watering can from the spigot? If so, your rain barrel base will need to be high enough to sit the can under the spout.

Would you DIY or Buy?

We paid about $80 each for our rain barrels a few years ago. There are lots of rain barrels on Amazon with a wide price range. We see rain barrels at Sam’s Club this time of year as well. If you are a DIY’er, you could quite likely save about half the cost by making your own. Would you DIY or Buy?


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Shirley Wood

Hi, I'm Shirley; recipe creator, enthusiastic crafter, even more enthusiastic beginner sewist, flower gardener, and penny pincher from way back.
I'm in love with God, my husband, my two girls and all of my precious grandchildren.
I was 'raised right' in the south and am a firm believer in the Golden Rule. My favorite verse is Romans 8:28.
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  1. Thanks for this post and the link to the DIY article!

    As for buy or DIY, I’d love to have both! DIY out back by the garden where they are not viable from the road. Then the prettier ones you can buy out front where they are visible to everyone who drives by.

    PS. I featured this information on the Hearts for Home Blog Hop!
    Amanda Smith recently posted…Hearts For Home Blog Hop 04/30/2015My Profile

    • We had to do the same thing with our downspouts. It was an easy task to cut them so that the water went into the rain barrel. Downspouts are made of a very thin metal. My hubby did it in just a few minutes.
      Shirley Wood recently posted…WWE Theme PartyMy Profile

  2. I’ve never heard of rain barrels before, our rain just goes into a drain. I got the buy and DIY options wrong though, I thought they were the other way around. Your DIY one looks professional with all the tubes from it 🙂

    • I love having rain water for my flowers and shrubs when it is so hot in the summer months. Rain Barrels hold a LOT of water. Ours are almost never empty. They both get the job done but we went with the Buy option.
      Shirley Wood recently posted…WWE Theme PartyMy Profile

    • I’ve always heard there is a lot of rain in Washington. Our summers tend to be hot and mostly dry which is why we wanted the rain barrels. I love being able to conserve and feed my plants rain water at the same time.
      Shirley Wood recently posted…WWE Theme PartyMy Profile

    • I hope there is water conservation methods in place for countries and areas suffering from drought conditions. I have seen some interesting things to use including portable rain barrels made of a very lightweight material, fascinating. I saw a water ‘wheel’ in Readers Digest designed to help transport water for countries in drought.
      Shirley Wood recently posted…WWE Theme PartyMy Profile

  3. Rain barrels become popular in my country, We are looking for this weekend and now you’ve shown what is really good, buy or diy? haha I think I’ll try the DIY, this can save money and if t’s not good I’ll buy.

    • Yes, I’m certain the DIY is more than half the price of Buy. We purchased ours a few years ago so I know they cost more now. If you are handy with tools, DIY is definitely the way to go for frugality.
      Shirley Wood recently posted…WWE Theme PartyMy Profile

  4. I’ve been wanting to get a rain barrel. I would love a DIY one, but i do prefer the visual of the bought one that you have. We have a summer garden, and a lot of plants in our yard, so we could definitely benefit from one.

    • We really like the aesthetic appeal of the Buy option more as well. Plus my hubby is handy with tools but didn’t want to make a rain barrel. A local fine dining restaurant here has rain barrels installed and hid them with shrubbery which was clever.
      Shirley Wood recently posted…WWE Theme PartyMy Profile

  5. Rain barrels are becoming more popular in my area and I see why. It sounds like such a great way to be eco friendly and to use whatever you already have in order to keep up your garden (our plants require so much watering). We have also thought about potentially making a compost pile!
    Amanda recently posted…Family Classes at Gratitude YogaMy Profile

    • We do enjoy our rain barrels. I have had a compost pile for many years. This year I’m doing something a little different. I’m adding my fresh fruit and veggie scraps as well as coffee grounds straight into the ground in my flower beds. I just dig the ground and hoe it up. We shall see what kind of difference that makes.
      Shirley Wood recently posted…WWE Theme PartyMy Profile

  6. This is interesting, especially living in CA where there is a major drought. If I had plants I would be all over this idea. But that would require it to rain here, which doesn’t really happen all that often. But in a state down south, this would be a perfect idea.

  7. This is a silly question, but I’m assuming your house has to have rain gutters? We don’t have those. I guess the majority of the homes in SoCal don’t have them because of the little rain here? I know homes in Hawaii had them because it rained all the time.
    Erlene recently posted…Stairway Gallery Wall & TipsMy Profile

    • We only use ours for watering flowers and shrubs. I do fill a watering can and water my houseplants with it sometimes, they love it too. Our dogs would be happy to drink it if we were to fill their water bowls with it.

  8. We don’t have rain barrels, but I’m putting this on my to-do list. I probably would have gone with the pretty one like you did and would have never thought that the flowers would get too much water during a hard downpour. I like your solution – don’t plant flowers in them. It’s such a great way to conserve water and plants really love it, too.
    Alli recently posted…An Afternoon with President ObamaMy Profile

    • It’s always good to do a little research prior to any new things. We didn’t do that so we were not aware of the need for the overflow drain. We are still happy with our rain barrels though. They have been getting a LOT of use here lately with all the rain we’ve had.
      Shirley Wood recently posted…Rain Barrels: DIY or BuyMy Profile

  9. I’m all for rain barrels!! I feel like saying “I wish the California residents would take this on”. But truthfully, there hasn’t been a lick of water the entire time we’ve lived here (okay maybe a trickle of water here and there) but with the drough it’s gotten terribly dry.
    Nancy (@spiffykerms) recently posted…Climbing trip to YosemiteMy Profile

    • I feel like there are probably a lot of rain barrels in use in California but they just need some rain to go into them. We are in a rainy season here in Georgia but during the hot summer months those rain barrels will pay for themselves.
      Shirley Wood recently posted…Rain Barrels: DIY or BuyMy Profile

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