Monday, 2 July 2012

Rain barrel in the front yard - Curb appeal faux pas or not?

We installed a rain barrel in the back yard and have been contemplating putting one in the front as well. Our Norway Maple is a very thirsty tree. It sucks most of the water from the front yard and its canopy acts like an umbrella deflecting water out to the edge of the yard.   Our hope is to divert water from the roof onto the front yard to provide additional moisture for our native woodland plants. Our only hesitation was the aesthetics of the barrel in the front. A plastic barrel sitting in one’s front yard is not the most appealing look. See what I mean?
We are also still conscious of our neighbours’ scepticism of our front yard native garden project and a rain barrel in the front does not help. Despite this concern, we went ahead and bought another rain barrel from the Toronto Botanical Gardens.  They had the best price and we like the idea of supporting them.  We chose the terra cotta colour to blend in with our red brick. Mia was confident that we could integrate the barrel with our native garden. 

How we did it
The rain barrel came with a tap I inserted into the small hole at the bottom, a debris trap that sits in the hole in the top and an overflow connector and pipe that attaches to the hole on the back side of the barrel near the top.  

The first step was to unscrew the elbow and the drain pipe extension from the down spout. Next I placed the barrel in the area that we wanted it.  Our neighbour had some broken patio stones she no longer needed and I used these to create a solid base for the barrel and to raise it up to improve flow from the tap.  I placed the barrel on the patio stones to accurately determine where I should cut the downspout.

Next, I eye-balled where to cut the downspout using the old elbow joint and a piece of drain pipe.  It is critical to maintain an angle downward to the top of the barrel. My trusty hacksaw cut through the drain pipe quite easily.  Mia helped hold the drain pipe steady which made the cutting easier.

After that, all I had to do was attach the old elbow to the cut downspout and cut a piece of the old drain pipe and attach it to the elbow to reach to the barrel.  Then I connected a new elbow to direct the water to the hole in the top of the barrel.  I secured the pipes together with drain pipe screws and all we had to do was wait for rain. 

We covered the barrel with a cloak of our Prince of Darkness Clematis to help camouflage it. 

We added some ferns and plants to make the corner look luscious and green. The barrel blends in well and we have no regrets in installing it in the front yard. Misha

1 comment:

  1. Mike, you need to paint it to make it decorative.