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Saving for a Rainy Day

It’s raining in Los Angeles today.  A glorious, drizzly rain.  While most Angelenos would complain about the gloominess, Gardenerds rejoice!  There is something about rain that nourishes the soil and plant life more than any irrigation system could do.  Even more importantly, it helps to ease the drought conditions all over.

One of my goals as a new home owner is to incorporate a rain barrel into our water management system.  Rain barrels collect runoff from the roof and rain gutters, which funnel the rainfall down drain spouts.  The drain spouts usually feed to a pipe that takes the runoff out to the curb, down the gutter, and eventually out to the ocean.  (Next month we’ll be focusing on what you can do to help prevent pollution and contamination of storm water).   Diverting rain gutters to a barrel will collect gallons of water every time it rains.  Storing the water through the year is easy, and it can be used for watering your garden in warmer, drier months.

There are several options for rain barrels available out there in the world:

Deluxe Rain Barrel









This barrel has a 75 gallon capacity and a screen to keep out bugs and leaves.  There is a hose attached for filling watering cans with ease.

For smaller needs, the English Rain Barrel is available:










With it’s 40 gallon capacity, it works well with smaller spaces.  Rain collects directly onto the lid and funnels through a filter into the barrel.

For a temporary option that disappears when empty:










Try the collapsible rain barrel.  Holds 45 gallons and zips open at the top for easy watering can dipping.

If you have an extra trash barrel sitting around, and are handy with tools, you can outfit it with a spigot at the bottom, hook it up to a tube.

You may also need to divert your downspout away from the house.  You can use either of the following options:

Downspout diverter









Or the Flexible Downspout









With many rain barrels, you will need to cut your downspout to just above the height of your barrel.  Then use a diverter to funnel the rain into the barrel.

If you have trouble or fear of mosquitoes taking up residence in your standing water, just float one of these in your rain barrel and fear not:

Mosquito Control Rings









Mosquito control rings are comprised of a non-toxic bacteria that kills mosquito larva.

These are just a few samples of what is available from Gardener’s Supply.  Other items are available from Real Goods at as well.  Click below to investigate those options., Inc

Do you have other options for rain collection that you would like to share with us?  Post a note here.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Christy Wilhelmi

    I forgot to mention that if you are a Santa Monica, CA resident you can get a free rain barrel from Sustainable Works if you meet certain criteria.  

    For Los Angeles, Tree People offers these helpful tips:
    #13 is about rain barrels.


  2. Sarah Supernova

    Thanks for the excellent tips and the great links to attractive, functional rain barrels. I hope people all over Los Angeles will catch onto this trend. Rain is too precious in the desert not to be fully appreciated and saved…for a dry day!

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