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April 17, 2013

Rain Barrel Love

I thought I'd share with you guys a simple, but really useful way that my family has gone green.  And it might be useful to some of you for the hot, summer months coming up!

The first summer we moved to Richmond, I really wanted to keep my yard green and looking nice.  I ran the sprinkler for an hour or two a few times a week.  I watered all my plants/vegetables at least once a day.  And then I got my first water bill.  Ouch.  I never realized how expensive city water is!!  Growing up, we had our sprinklers and hose attached to a well, so it didn't really cost anything to run.  Well, city water is a different story.  Let's just say, the rest of that summer, my lawn didn't look quite as nice as it did when we moved in :)
But, a few weeks after my love of my sprinkler went away, I found someone selling rain barrels at our farmer's market.  I had never really seen a rain barrel before.  But I went home and did a little research on them, and learned that they're basically a giant barrel attached to your gutter drain to collect rain water.  I thought it was genius and bought one the next time we went to the farmer's market.  And I haven't been disappointed.
our lovely rain barrel
There's our rain barrel.  Now, it's nothing fancy-they do make really nice ones.  Ours was just a big blue barrel that was painted green to blend in a little more with the landscape.  The paint is peeling off a little bit, and there's a few things I would change, but overall, this thing has been awesome.  While I can't water the grass with it, I do water all of our landscaping and vegetables with the water from the barrel.  We never have to use the hose to do any of that!  Which saves water and money.  I also don't feel bad letting Myles fill up his little elephant watering can about 30 times an afternoon to "water" the grass, because this water doesn't cost us anything!

Basically, the water just pours in through this hole from the gutter spout.  One thing I wish this rain barrel had is a filter or a screen to keep leaves and sticks from coming in.  Some rain barrels just have an open top, covered with a screen to keep debris out.  
don't mind the dirt and pollen on top!  it doesn't get cleaned often :)
It also has a little hole on the side, so when the barrel fills up, the extra comes out the side and doesn't back up the gutters.  

I would highly recommend a rain barrel to anyone looking to save some water and some money!  They're pretty easy to install, and super easy to use.  Although it's a little more work than using a hose, we love using the rain barrel.  Also, we get a discount on our storm water bill for every rain barrel we have!  Definitely something to look into in your area.  
rain barrel love :)