Use Rain Barrels to Cut Down on Summer Water Bills

In the spring and summer, when you spend more time outside in the garden, you may want to set up one or two rain barrels to catch excess rainwater. Watering your lawn and flowers with a hose can really add to your water bill, and rain barrels offer an old-fashioned solution to this problem.

A typical rain barrel, available at most garden centers.
A typical rain barrel, available at most garden centers.

Spring is the best time to install rain barrels in your yard — a good location is at the ends of your gutter downspouts. That way, you’ll capture all that spring rainwater that falls in April and May, and dramatically reduce your water consumption and water bill.

If you have pickle containers, you can recycle and retrofit them into rain barrels to collect and dispense water. You can also buy rain barrels in most garden shops — Walmart, Target, and Home Depot advertise them on their Web sites.

Use the captured rainwater only on your lawn and flower garden — on flowers, grass, and nonedible growth. Use fresh water for vegetable gardens. The water in your rain barrels may contain chemicals from the asphalt roof and other pollutants that you don’t want to eat along with your salad caprese at the end of summer.