Many of us are doing everything we can to be “green”. In my case, I am doing things that make sense financially, make sense for long term maintenance of my property, or make sense with regard to keeping the boss happy (The boss=my wife).
I have considered a rain barrel for a while. However, I haven’t yet pulled the trigger on a purchase. My wife has some plantings and water from a rain barrel would easily take care of those needs. Will it make sense financially? No. I live in the Northeast (NY) and the cost of water is nominal (about $60 per quarter). This thing is not going to pay for itself. Will it help with the maintenance of my property? No. This water heads straight into a drain that heads into the municipal storm sewer system. Remember, I said maintenance of “my property”.
Will it keep my wife happy? Probably.
When I saw this plan, It seemed so logical. In many cases a traditional rain barrel, with the spigot on the bottom, won’t have the water pressure to get where you need it. However, this elevated design will do the trick in adding a little extra pressure. Keep in mind that this system will be heavy so you should NOT skimp on your base. In fact, If I were to mimic this exact plan, I would probably place this on a cement pad, or if that wasn’t an option, I would lay down a packed bed of gravel and top that with some large pavers to spread the weight. When all is said and done, this based will need to support about 900 pounds!
You might not want to used a trash can for this system and would like to opt for something a bit more attractive. In many areas, there are companies that will sell food grade barrels for under $15 each. In fact, in WNY, there is a seller who lists them for $12 on Craigslist. http://buffalo.craigslist.org/search/?areaID=40&subAreaID=&query=rain+barrel&catAbb=sss. You could probably paint these to suit your own color scheme as long as you use a nice flexible paint (these suckers will expand and contract a lot).
If you are building your own rain barrel setup, this guide from The Family Handyman should help. Click below to be linked to the full set of plans. Good luck.