Rainwater collecting is a good idea for 242835345234 reasons. I’m going to list two of them.
ONE: If you haven’t spent any time in Austin, you should know it doesn’t rain here in the summer. At all. At least not in the past two years. It gets so dry that the city must sometimes authorize water restrictions that are so harsh, restaurants have to stop serving water to customers unless requested. I’m not joking. It’s a real thing. So collecting precious rainwater while we have it is sort of like drilling for oil. It’s a valuable commodity that will soon be gone forever (or at least it feels like it during the middle of August).
TWO: After a big rain our yard is transformed into a swimming pool. It’s not as fun as it sounds because puddles = mud, and mud + labradoodles = disgusting carpet mess. So, it’s in our best interest to keep as much of that water off the ground and into buckets as possible.
In the end, all that water goes back to nourish the plants and the earth, helping us to be a little more sustainable and do our part to save the planet.
Sounds pretty good except for the part where most rain harvesting barrels are ugly as [expletive]. Don’t believe me? See for yourself.
Not. Cool. We have four of these puppies that, once the gutters are installed, will have to live in some very prominent places in our backyard. Egh. At least if they were being ugly in the front yard, all of our neighbors could see how awesome and planet friendly we are.
“Oh look, those rain barrels aren’t very attractive but look at that young couple doing their part to help the earth. I want to be just like them…so earth conscious and attractive and thin!”
I am clearly taking liberties here, but the point is, the barrels are in the back yard, they are numerous, they are large and they are not good to look at. So, of course, I’ve been scouring the web to find some solutions.
OPTION ONE: Paint it.
I’ve seen a few folks adorn their barrels with picturesque scenes of the countryside or bright and charming flowers. It’s a big step up from white plastic construction site we’ve got going now.
It’s a pretty great alternative, but the problem is that I’m no artist, whatsoever. So if I tried my hand at painting the barrel, I imagine it would end up looking something like this.
That’s a rain barrel. It says, “I Heart Rain.” This is not an improvement over the current situation, so I think we will pass on option one.
OPTION TWO: Put a plant on it.
This is the not-so-distant cousin of Portlandia’s “Put a Bird On It” campaign, but it make a little more sense. The barrels are in the back yard, there are plants there already, why not throw one, or two, or ten on top of (or around) the barrels?
Ok. Option Two, you’re still in the cards, but surely there are other things to consider as well.
OPTION THREE: Use a whiskey barrel.
It’s a cute idea, whiskey barrels are rustic and vintage-looking. That totally fits in with our little hipster masterplan. Maybe a whiskey barrel could work.
I really REALLY love this idea, but Heath already purchased four rain barrels that did not at one point hold whiskey, and I’m pretty sure it’s counter productive to the whole “earth friendly” thing to throw out perfectly good rain barrels because they weren’t “cute” enough. Option three, I hate to see you go, but you just won’t work for us.
OPTION FOUR: Build around it.
As usual, Instructables had some neat ideas for using lattice to surround a water barrel set up that seem fairly doable.
And I saw some really neat ideas from Living Rainwater Tanks that I think we could emulate, and I do know a pretty handy fellow who could make it happen.
In the end I think it will be a combination of Option Two and Four that go down, a decorative structure of sorts, combined with a little greenery.
Yes, I think that will work nicely. I can’t wait to reveal the before and after photos…