Rain barrels

Provide your plants with water they’ll love!

While Guelph’s groundwater supply is great for drinking, soft, warm rain water can’t be beat when it comes to watering your plants. Rain barrels are an excellent way to capture and store rainwater for use in your garden when it’s not raining and when watering restrictions may be in effect. Rainwater is free to collect, so it saves you money, and rain barrels help reduce stormwater runoff into the Eramosa and Speed Rivers.

You can buy a rain barrel from local home improvement, hardware and garden stores, or watch our events calendar for the annual truckload rain barrel sale hosted by the City (Water Services) around the end of May every year.

There’s more than one way to use water from your rain barrel

  • fill a watering can to hand-water plants in gardens or containers, including indoors
  • connect a soaker hose to your rain barrel and snake it through the garden
  • place an inexpensive pond pump inside your barrel for added pressure, then attach a garden hose for watering
  • add a little to your compost bin to keep material moist
  • rinse off your gardening tools
  • wash your car
Don’t forget to drain your rain barrel onto a garden or your lawn before a big rain event to prevent overflowing and reduce stormwater runoff.

Installing your rain barrel

Tools and equipment

You’ll need:

  • your complete rain barrel kit
  • safety glasses and gloves
  • a shovel
  • a level
  • a hacksaw
  • screws and a screwdriver or drill
  • a flexible downspout
  • cinder blocks or a stand

Step-by-step instructions

Follow these easy steps or watch the video below

  1. Pick the perfect spot for your rain barrel: place it under the downspout nearest to the plants or gardens you’ll be watering, and make sure it won’t be an obstacle for yourself or others enjoying your outdoor space.
  2. Shovel a flat spot where you will place the rain barrel.
  3. Place your stand or cinder blocks in the space you have cleared and check to make sure it’s level so that it won’t tip over; raising your rain barrel above ground level will create a gravity flow, and allow you to fit a watering can underneath the spout.
  4. Once level, place your barrel on the stand or blocks to check the height against your downspout and mark the spot where you will cut your downspout to join the flexible portion to reach your rain barrel’s opening.
  5. Using safety glasses and gloves, cut your downspout with the hacksaw; you may need to place the rain barrel back on the ground while you do this.
  6. Connect the flexible downspout (wear your gloves to protect against sharp metal edges) and use screws to hold it in place as needed.
  7. Place your rain barrel back on the blocks or stand, attach the spout and over flow tube, and rotate the barrel so the spout is where you want to be able to access it.
  8. Be sure to cover the opening of your barrel with the screen included in your rain barrel kit to stop leaves and debris getting into your barrel, and to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs in it.
  9. Direct the flexible downspout into the opening of your rain barrel and start collecting that great rain water!
  10. If you like, use shrubs, vines, screens or other decor to hide your barrel from sight, or to make it match the décor in your yard.