Rain Barrels: It’s Pouring with Sustainable, Stylish, and Witty Designs

July 25, 2009 by

Diagram courtesy of Green Home Huddle

Lawn and garden watering make up nearly 40% of total household water use during the summer months. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, a rain barrel can potentially save most homeowners about 1,300 gallons of water during the peak summer months.

A rain barrel collects and stores rainwater from rooftops to use later for lawn and garden watering.
Water collected in a rain barrel would normally pour off your roof directly or flow through roof gutter downspouts and become stormwater runoff.

A rain barrel collects and stores rainwater from rooftops to use later for garden watering. Water collected in a rain barrel would normally pour off your roof directly or flow through roof gutter downspouts and become stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff is the leading type of residential non-point source pollution. Saving water not only helps protect the environment, it saves you money and energy (decreased demand for treated tap water). Diverting water from storm drains also decreases the impact of runoff to streams. A rain barrel is an easy and free way to have a consistent supply of clean, fresh water for outdoor use.

Here are some that prove that sustainable can also be stylish, even witty:

Hero 365 by Toronto design firm Hero


With the Cascata Urn (below), you almost forget it’s a rain barrel.

Cascata Rain Barrel Urn with Crown Planter in terracotta, $249 at
Woodland Direct

Traditional Planter Designs

Tijeras Nino, $222.17 at Gardening Warehouse Direct

Quad, available at composters.com

Madison Rain Catcher, composters.com

Round Spruce 67 Gallon,

Not So Traditional Designs

They come in all shapes and sizes. For those of you with an appreciation of the bottom line, Hemingway Design created these for Straight plc:


And then…

The WaterStone Rain Barrel with Gutter diverter Kit is $99.99 from Home Depot

Quercus, by design team Weyers & Borms (via Designboom

‘Quercus’ is a quirky water barrel made from the polyester/fiberglass cast of a 150 year-old oak tree trunk. As the designers say that the tree was waiting to be sawn, I’m assuming it was not cut down for this purpose, but…

Decorate Your Own
You can even commission an artist, such as Sheree from the studio Watercolorplus, to custom decorate your rain barrel:


But if you really want to be “green,” make your own rain barrel:


  1. Cal Simes said:

    I stiil ask what is the over flow a mess splattered on the side fo makeing more a mess.along their sides Why not a down spout to connect to top over flow? This with tip flap to incidate fullness! Wook force blower vacumn (sold at sears and TV)has a lever flap that might be used as an indicater!

    — March 23, 2010 @ 09:33

  2. Adam said:

    I recently got a rain barrel from EarthMinded and it works great. In terms of its look, it’s not as fancy as some of the ones in this post but it has some very clever design features that solve most of the problems people have with rain barrels.

    It holds about 60 gallons. Its diverter fits perfectly to the downspout and it allows excess water to pass through the downspout. You can lock the opening lid if you want to which keeps out mosquitoes etc. It comes with a spigot which allows you to fill a watering can etc. and there is also a drain that you can attach your garden hose to, which makes it easy to empty the barrel in winter. They also provide a winter hole cover so the hole in the downspout doesn’t look ugly.

    There is video on their website (http://earthminded.com) that makes installation very easy. One of their products is 100% recycled while others are 30% recycled, which as an environmentally conscious person, is very important to me.

    You can buy them from their website, but they also list authorized resellers on their website and the resellers offer good deals so I would check them out.

    — September 9, 2010 @ 15:12

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