When we plant our garden, we can’t predict if we will have a wet rainy season or a hot drought. If it is wet weather or a naturally wet climate, use the rain to your benefit.
If you do experience a wet spring and summer, make the most of what nature gives you by collecting that rainfall. Rain barrels can be an economic and environmentally friendly solution to making the most out of the wet weather. Rain barrels allow you to use the rain water to water your garden. They also help keep lakes and streams cleaner by diverting water and not washing the debris, chemicals and pollutants from sidewalks and driveways into the storm drains. Aside from these environmental gains, you will see a reduction in water use if you are on city services.
Some features you may want to consider before you purchase your rain barrel are:
Depending on your needs, a rain barrel can vary in size. Bigger is not necessarily better if you are not going to use the amount of water the bigger barrels collect. Determine your needs before picking your size. After choosing your size, be aware that 1-gallon of water weighs just over 8 pounds. You will want to choose an area for collection that is level and has firm pack ground that can withstand the weight. You may even consider laying a paving stone to help stabilize and level the barrel
Style and color
As rain barrels gain popularity, the choices in style and color expand. They range from industrial plastic barrels to stylized clay pots. Any search on Pinterest will uncover a variety of styles and some have even been whimsically painted to add flair and interest to an otherwise functional application.
Try and choose a barrel that is child and animal proof. There are one-piece designs that will not allow a child to remove the lid and therefore eliminates any risk of drowning. A rain barrel should be made of a sturdy material that won’t crack or buckle. It should include a mesh guard to collect bugs and debris. An overflow spigot will ensure that your rain barrel will never be filled over capacity, which can cause damage.
The sound of rain has always been associated with soothing and calming influences. Spas pipe in the peaceful sound of rain to help you relax. If the thought of rainfall calms you, you may want to make the most of the wet weather by installing a rain chain. Rain chains have been used for hundreds of years to help rainwater gently cascade down and create a soothing and beautiful display. Aside from the aesthetic properties of a rain chain, there is also a functional purpose. A rain chain will slow down the driving rain, which eliminates erosion in areas and allows the water to either drain slower into the earth or collect into a rain barrel or basin for use. Like a downspout, the rain chain also acts to divert water away from your house.
Rain chains will eliminate the need for a downspout in areas. The aesthetic appeal of this is not hard to imagine. Typically made of copper, the rain chain can be stylized in several different ways including cups, loops or a combination of different shapes for varying tone.
Whether it is a rain barrel or rain chains, wet weather need not dampen your spirits. Whatever Mother Nature gives us can be used in our favor. Rain water can sooth, repair and replenish the environment and us.