Have you ever watched a torrential downpour and wished you had a bucket big enough to catch the rain before it disappears down the drain? If so, this video is for you!

Watch as Ashley Henderson of the Alabama Clean Water Partnership walks us through three quick and easy steps to build a rain barrel.

Not only are rain barrels are a great way to save water for not-so-rainy-days, they’re a smart environmental choice. When you use rain barrels, you help prevent erosion and you help cut storm water run-off so rivers and other water sources stay clean. Rain barrels help you save this precious resource when you water your trees, flowers and scrubs. And with your own supply of rain water, you can have a great-looking yard, even when watering restrictions apply.

With all of these great benefits, you’ll want to build yours this weekend!


A rain barrel is a device that anybody can use at their home to gather water when it rains so that they can use it during a period when it's not raining; for shrubs, for their gardens, or if needed by house. It's a very easy project. There are lots of different designs of rain barrels. But one of the things we really wanted to do was to build a barrel that was easy to build and that would work in just about any situation. If you have the right material and tools, you can build one in about 15 minutes.

Here's what you need to build a rain barrel: an electric drill, a five inch hole saw, a one inch forstner bit, and a 1 3/8 inch forstner bit. The materials that you'll need include a food-grade plastic barrel. This is a 55 gallon barrel but really any size will work. A three-quarter inch male hose bib, a one and a half inch sump pump hose, six to eight feet in length or greater, fiberglass screen 3 feet x 3 feet square, and a four foot bungee cord.

There are three parts of a rain barrel; the inlet, the outlet, and the overflow. The inlet is where the rain water enters the barrel. The outlet is where you attach the hose from the bottom of the barrel. The overflow of the barrel is important for when the barrel fills, when the barrel is completely full, water will leave the barrel through the overflow. So you want to make sure that you direct that away from the foundation of your home into an area that could use the extra water.

To construct the inlet, you attach a five-inch hole saw into your electric drill. You'll use this drill to cut two or three five-inch holes in the top of your barrel. Then you will cut a 3/4 square section of mosquito screen. Hose the screen on the top of the barrel. Use the four foot bungee cord to attach the screen to the barrel just below the lip of the barrel. Next, let's construct the outlet. Use the one inch portion of it to drill a hole in the side of the barrel. Next, screw the three-quarter inch male hose bib into the barrel. If the hose is not smooth, you may have problems with leakage.

To create the overflow, you maybe use the one and 3/8 inch portion of the drill or hole on the side wall of the barrel, about three or four inches from the top of the barrel. Now that you have the hole cut, take the sump pump hose, pinch the end, and insert it into the whole.

And of course, your final step is to start collecting rain water. This will help you save money and also help protect the environment and the water quality in our rivers.

How to build a rain barrel
Part of the Aflac Lunch and Learn series, watch as Ashley Henderson of the Alabama Clean Water Partnership demonstrates how to build a rain barrel.