Around 600 gallons of rainwater can be harvested from about one inch of rain if it falls from a thousand square foot roof. Doesn’t that sound like a lot of water that you could harvest and use for free?
Well, we thought so too.
That is why my husband and I began harvesting our rainwater. It is a great way to water your livestock, vegetable garden, flowers, and some even use it for drinking.
So today I want to bring you a list of ideas on how you can catch your own rainwater.
But before we begin I want to cover all the bases. First, be sure to check with your local ordinances before harvesting rainwater. Some have gotten a little particular recently about this.
Second, before drinking rainwater be sure that you have thoroughly researched the purifying process in order to protect yourself from possible illness.
Okay, that’s all. So let’s get started—
How Much Rainwater Can You Harvest from Your Roof?
Here’s a handy little calculator to help you estimate how much rainwater can you harvest from your roof. To use this calculator, input the dimensions of your roof (only area connected to rainwater harvesting system) and the amount of rainfall in inches.
Rainwater Harvest CalculatorLength: ft.
Below is a table of average total yearly precipitation by state. Find the state where you live and input the number in the Rainfall field on the calculator above to calculate your annual rainwater harvest.
|Avg. Total Yearly Precipitation (in.)
Why Harvest Rainwater?
Before we move to the main part of this article, here’s a nice infographic by CustomMade explaining why you should collect rainwater at home and how to do it properly.
23 Rainwater Harvesting Ideas
1. DIY Rain Barrel System
This site walks you through an easy four-step process of building a small rain barrel system. It shows you everything from building the platform to creating the actual rain barrel and hooking it up to your gutters.
And it also gives great visuals to help you along with the process. So if you want to start small and inexpensive just to give rainwater harvesting a try then this might be a good option for you. And if you are like me and rely heavily on visuals while building anything then this option could be very helpful to you.
2. The Better Home DIY Rain Barrel
This rain barrel is very simple to make. It requires only a garbage can and a few simple hand tools. And it also has a way to filter large debris from your rain barrel as well.
So this water catchment source would be great for smaller items like watering a small garden or some flowers. And it wouldn’t take up much space so it wouldn’t draw a ton of attention on your property.
3. The PVC Rain Barrel
I love this rain barrel option. I’m probably partial because we have a few of these set-up around our property. They are very sturdy and work great for storing lots of rainwater. I actually use them to water my livestock.
However, what makes this tutorial so great is the fact that she not only includes details on how to build it. But she also includes details about the mistakes she made and how you can learn from those mistakes to have great success with you DIY water catchment system.
4. The Handy Man Rain Barrel
I love this rain barrel idea. The reason is that it looks great and very functional. But it can also be built on a budget. According to the site, a budget of only $100. That isn’t bad considering the money you’ll be saving yourself on your water bill (or electricity if on a well.)
So the site gives you a great materials list and walks you through the build in ample detail. And it does offer a couple of pictures to help out visual learners (such as myself)
5. The Basic Rain Barrel
This rain barrel is extremely basic. According to the site, if you have a few materials, an afternoon, and a few carpentry skills then you should be good to go.
So if you are looking for a water catchment system that is meant only to water your lawn or garden then this one should do the trick. It isn’t a big system but for basic use, it should be just fine.
6. The Cheap DIY Rain Barrel
This rain barrel is made out of a trash can. Therefore, it is pretty inexpensive to make. And according to the site, it works better than most. It looks very easy to build too.
So if you want to do your own rainwater harvesting but are also on a budget then consider this option. It looks pretty good from a visual standpoint too. So this option equates to functional and pleasant to look at. You can’t go wrong with those classifications.
7. The Medium Sized Rain Water Collection System
This is not your average backyard system. Nor is it something everyone would probably even want. But if you live on a larger piece of land and need ample amount of water to keep your livestock or garden going then this system would certainly be helpful.
So this option actually requires its own shed to cover the large water tank. They have a solar purification system running to it. And it is a larger project than some others mentioned. But if it would work for you then certainly consider doing it. A larger project often creates a really awesome product.
8. The Beginner’s Guide To Catching Rain
This option is a little different. It is actually something that most everyone should read before catching your own rainwater. It provides the in’s and out’s of each type of rain catchment system.
And it also informs you of some potential problems you might encounter. Plus, it tells you how to install a basic water catchment system. I included it because it is a great resource that does give a few ideas as well.
9. The $15 Rain Barrel
This resource is great! I love it for many reasons. First, because it keeps the true tradition of DIY alive. Not only do you get something functional. But you get it for a bargain price. Secondly, they tell you where to find your barrel so you can stay within the bargain price.
And if that doesn’t just send you over the moon, in the end, you get a rain barrel that will help you catch lots of rainwater to keep your property well-maintained at no extra cost. It doesn’t get much better than that, folks.
10. The YoungHouseLove Rain Barrel
This site gives a great resource to build your own rain barrel. They offer up great pictures of their build and many details.
And even better, the finished product looks very appealing. Again, this isn’t a large water catchment system. But it would certainly do the trick to water a few flowers or vegetables. But it looks rather discrete too.
11. The 275 Gallon System
Now, we are starting to go a little larger. If you have a smaller homestead that you need to water smaller livestock and a larger garden then this system should work well for your needs.
So this site gives you lots of details on how to construct this water catchment system. And it offers lots of great pictures too that will hopefully help along the way.
12. The 1,100 Rain Water Catchment System
This is a large rainwater catchment system. But don’t let it scare you. You won’t be hauling in some super large tank that has to buried underground. (That comes later.)
No, in fact, this takes 4 of the metal water tanks that will be interlocked together. And this video does a great job at walking you through the build from start to finish. So check it out and see if it could work for you.
13. The Basic Rain Barrel
This article is a great resource. It tells you all you need to know in summary form about catching and utilizing rainwater.
But then it continues on to give you a detailed how-to on creating your own rain barrel. So if you are looking for information and a basic rain barrel plan then this might be a helpful resource for you.
14. A Trash Can Rain Barrel
Lots of people make cost-effective rain barrels out of trash cans. But I really liked this tutorial because it is very thorough, in my opinion. And she gives a great picture of a very nice, neat looking finished product.
However, the coolest part is that it is all done by the picture. So that is great news for someone looking for something simple. No words are even required for this product. But you get helpful step by step pictures which is great for the visual builder.
15. The Pretty Rain Barrel
This rain barrel is unique in its own right. Why? Because they bought a pretty barrel. If you live in a subdivision and need a more discrete water catchment system then you might really like this one because of how it would blend in with your flower pots.
So beyond that, it is a very simple build. They offer very detailed instruction and step by step pictures which is a bonus that I love.
16. DIY Filtered Trash Can Rain Barrel
This trash can rain barrel takes things one step further than many. They show how to filter the barrel from any debris entering into your system. This is great as it prevents clogs. In my experience, there is nothing more annoying than trying to water your prize-winning petunias and the hose gets all clogged up.
So if you are with me in that notion, give this tutorial a quick glance. You might find that you really like it. It should be budget friendly as well since it is built out of a trash can.
17. DIY Rain Barrel Video
This is another great tutorial on building a rain barrel. It is a great option for those that live in an area with strict regulations for your property. They show you how to disguise this rain barrel so it will blend in with your property.
So if you need a pretty rain barrel then this might very well be what you’ve been searching for. Not to mention, they give you a detailed video to show you how to complete this project. Sounds like a great project to me.
18. DIY Rain Barrel Video Tutorial
This video is another great tutorial. Now, it is not one that will blend in with your property. But if you are someone that just needs functionality instead of it blending in too then you’ll probably really appreciate this project.
So beyond how much water you can store in it, it actually seems rather simple to put together. And you also have a great video series that will help you from start to finish.
19. Bladder Tank
This option is not DIY. However, it is a really cool option to store water. So let’s say you are someone that needs a discrete way to store water, or you just don’t want an obvious rainwater harvesting catchment system sitting around your property.
Well, then this option is right up your alley (most likely.) If you live in a house that has a crawl space beneath it then you just set-up this bladder tank under your house and it stores rainwater. Isn’t that neat?
20. Stand Alone Rain Water Collector
This is a really neat idea if you want a simple rain collector. You’ll just take a water tank and basically, put a large funnel on it.
And that way when it rains, it’ll channel all of the rainwater into your tank so you don’t miss as much. It is really a rather ingenious thought if you ask me.
21. Galvanized Stock Tank Rain Barrel
This is a pretty neat idea for a rain barrel. They show you how to turn a galvanized stock tank into a water barrel. I like it because it looks rustic and fits into most modern décor as well.
But it will also be sturdy and hold plenty of water too. So if you need a water catchment system that will fit into your outside décor this might be a great option for that.
22. The Fencewell Water Tank
When I saw this my immediate thoughts were, “How cool!” And it really is a neat idea for a water tank. But this is not a DIY option.
However, if you are someone that would like a water tank that won’t take up much space and could even be used as a fence then you might really enjoy this water tank idea. It is very different, to say the least.
23. The Massive Water Catchment System
This particular water catchment system is being used out in the desert for an earthbag home. It could be a DIY project but would take a lot of know-how.
So if you are someone that is looking for a huge water catchment system to use for drinking water and to water a large homestead then this might be a good option for you. It would be more costly probably. However, you might just deem it worth the price once you experience the benefit of supplying your own water.
So these are 23 options for rainwater harvesting systems. Some are DIY and meant to help you store small amounts of water to help with watering vegetation and livestock.
And others are larger, commercial options of catching and purifying your own water for everything you could possibly use it for. I hope you found them helpful and that they sparked a few creative ideas within you.