Fun & Easy DIY Ideas For Collecting Rainwater

July 13, 2020 3 min read

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Collecting rainwater is a great way to make the most of this natural resource! You can use your collected rainwater to water your garden and indoor plants, and even to wash your car.

Most rainwater collection systems simply gather the rain that comes off of the roofline. This water is usually directed away from your home and toward the local sewer system. Why not use it for good before you send it into the system? Before you begin collecting rainwater, make sure that it is allowed in your community. Some cities and states have laws against collecting it. 

Thankfully harvesting rainwater is legal and even encouraged in most states. Check out this list of rainwater-related laws by state in the US. 

Fun & Easy DIY Ideas For Collecting Rainwater

A Painted Barrel

Some thrift stores, recycling centers, and landscaping facilities have low-cost or even free barrels. Take a look at the barrel and make sure there are no holes. If the interior of the barrel looks suspect, you can line it with plastic sheeting.

Paint the exterior of the barrel in bright or fun colors. You can add polka dots, flowers, rainbows, or whatever you desire. It’s a great project for children too! They can put their painted handprints on the barrel.

Position the barrel under the primary downspout for your home, or choose the downspout that is closest to your garden. Add a tap the barrel and insert it about six inches from the bottom. Seal it with caulk and plumbing tape and you’re good to go!

Painted Rain Barrel by Courtney Schoen

Photo by Courtney Schoen

A Large Planter

Another option is to position a large planter under your downspout. For example, a citrus tree or a shrub planted in a planter. Make sure that you have drainage at the bottom of the plant.

Drill a hole near the bottom of the planter and attach a hose. Seal it with caulk so it doesn’t leak. Make sure the hose is long enough to reach your garden or flower bed. You can then funnel the water from your rooftop into your garden.

Finally, many communities offer free or low-cost rain collection systems. This is particularly true if you live in a community that is dealing with drought or is particularly environmentally conscious. Check out what your community has to offer. They may have a rain collection system ready for you to pick up and start using today.

One of the biggest uses of water in most communities is the lawn. Grass requires a significant amount of water to thrive. 

DIY Rain Barrel Stand

Of course, you need something to rest your creative rain barrel on! Check out how Vinetafrom The Handyman's Daughter made this DIY Rain Barrel Stand.

easy DIY rain barrel stand

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do rain barrels work?

Rain barrels work by attaching a diverter to a downspout and then catching the rainwater as it flows through the gutters of a house, garage, shed, etc. Each time it rains, the rain barrel will be filled with rainwater, and then the water sits waiting and ready to be used in your garden.

Is rainwater harvesting worth it?

Rainwater harvesting can be a great way to lower your water bill. Especially since the natural precipitation can be used for different purposes such as garden water, toilet flushing, and washing the car.

How can I get a free rain barrel?

Check with your local city water department. They may have programs where you can get a rain barrel kit for free, and sometimes even have it installed too.


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