How to Build Rain Barrels on a Budget

Did you start a garden to save money but now you are spending more money on water? Is your garden suffering because you have water restrictions where you live?

No matter what your gardening situation is, if you build rain barrels, you will be glad you did. Not only will you save on your water bill, your plants will be happier having rain water as opposed to city water out of the hose.

Here’s how we built our rain barrels

We got 55 gallon food-grade barrels for a good price from someone on craigslist (I don’t remember exactly, but I believe it was around $15).  The barrels we got previously had BBQ sauce inside. We poured in some liquid dish soap and water, rolled them around the pavement a few times and rinsed them out to ensure they were clean before we put them in their new home.  I recently saw a listing on free craigslist for some 55 gallon food-grade barrels, so you could check there as well. If you do, be sure to ask what was inside the barrels beforehand. Some things just won’t be worth it and you want to make sure it is safe.

Okay, the next thing we did was order these rain barrel kits online. The instructions were super easy to follow (Ahem, for my husband. I’ll confess, I didn’t do the drilling.) and voila you have free water for your garden!

Here’s why I recommend it

Now that we have the barrels, I can’t believe we ever had a garden without them. We only used water out of the hose one week during the first season we assembled the barrels which is not only a savings but it makes total sense because the plants thrive on rain water!

In addition to these advantages, anytime our city is under water restrictions that, for example, limit us to watering only one day a week, we can still water whenever we want (assuming we have enough rain water, of course)!

The morning after we finished assembling them we were so excited because we woke up to the sound of rain!

Sweet Peas 'N Chickadees | Rain Barrels
The kit comes with the correct size forstner bits for drilling the holes in the barrels and the gutters.


Sweet Peas 'N Chickadees | Rain Barrels
For now, our barrels are sitting on cinder blocks to allow us to fit our watering cans underneath.


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