I finished up my little rain barrel project yesterday. My three rain barrels used to be underneath the downspout coming off the roof. And that's great for catching the most rain, but the problem was that it is downhill from and not close enough to the garden where it's needed. I've looked into pumps, but they're expensive, which might be why almost no one seems to mention them on their blogs. Everyone just uses gravity, and that's what I'm doing now.
The finishing touches I applied yesterday involved enclosing/hiding the one rain barrel from the street — for aesthetic reasons only — behind an additional section of fencing. The only problem with that is that most of the wood used is new, so it doesn't blend in with the existing faded/grayed-out fence.
I also installed a sort of mini gutter system, fastened to the fence, that will pour its collected rainwater into the rain barrel. It's fairly clever, if I say so myself. I painted that something between beige and gray that matches the old fencing pretty well. But I'm afraid the enclosure itself kind of looks like hell. Sort of like a kid's fort. Or maybe an outhouse. :) I hope the neighborhood association doesn't complain, if they even notice it. I'm thinking of adding a curvy slide to the front of it for the kids. That would help hide the rain barrel enclosure while at the same time provide "hours of fun for the little ones!"
I still need to figure out what to do with the other two rain barrels. They both need repair, but nothing that I've tried seems to work to stop leaks. I guess I need to just melt the leaky spots back together.
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