Early on we decided that rain barrels would be a great addition to our homestead. Our yard is on a slope, and when it rained the water flow over part of the yard would be too much. Grass wouldn’t grow well in that area, and the ground would get really muddy. Part of the water flow comes from the gutters, and we realized that getting a rain barrel or two would lessen the water flow. We realized other benefits to having rain barrels would be lower water bills since we would use if for the garden, living an more environmentally friendly lifestyle, and have a water supply in case of emergency.
Local government has a strong rain water collection initiative, which made it easy to get rain barrels. We found all this out through a simple internet search, and then we were off on our rain barrel adventure!
We had the option to attend a workshop and build barrels ourselves, or buy ready-made barrels. We were interested in attending the class, but the days it was offered didn’t fit into our schedule. Therefore, we opted to buy ready-made barrels instead.
We decided to buy two barrels. At 55 gallons a pop, that gives us capacity for 110 gallons of water! According to some websites George found, with the rainfall levels in our area the barrels will quickly fill up. The overflow hoses, which you can see well in the picture below, will come in handy!
We went to pickup the barrels, and everything went smoothly. Having an SUV allowed us to pickup 2 barrels at once. The only issue was that we now had these big, black barrels that would stick out and in the yard. To fix the problem decided to paint them! I’m the decorative painter out of the two of us, so the painting task fell to me. We had no outdoor paint, so knowing that we had to buy paint, and realizing my own limitations when it came to painting on a 55 gallon barrel, I decided to paint camo! We have a minor obsession with camo in this household. Plus camo uses common outdoor paint colors like green and tan, and it would play off the black barrels well.
George went to the closest Restore and picked up some outdoor paint for a good deal. The barrels were already pretty scuffed up, so we didn’t bother sanding them before painting. That made the task a lot faster than I expect it would have been otherwise. We just rinsed down the barrels and let them air dry. Then we moved them into the house on some plastic. (Word of Warning: even though we’d just washed down the barrels, there were still bugs! A few spiders rode into the house on the barrels). I watched a few TV shows while painting the barrels. I used basic foam brushes, and they worked perfectly.
Here are pictures of the two barrels all done. The more painted one on the left was the first one I did. I took a pair of George’s camo pants and emulated the pattern. This one looks more like traditional camo. The barrel on the right I did second, and it is less traditionally camo in appearance since it’s more sparsely painted. It embodies the philosophy of camo as the different colors will help it blend in with our yard.
We’re pretty happy with how the barrels turned out, and painting them was well worth the few bucks we spent on paint plus the time it took me to paint them.
The rain barrels still have to be installed, which will be George’s domain. Look for a post detailing that process in the near future!