If you live in an area with regular summer rain showers, it’s a shame to let all that water go to waste. One Instagram user shared an earth-friendly method to collect rainwater and use it to water a garden.
In a viral Instagram reel, Maria Watkins (@livingplanetfriendly) introduced her favorite watering hack. She installed a rain barrel in her backyard to collect rainwater to use as her garden’s primary water source.
“Not only does it save me a lot of money on my water bill, my rain barrel saves me hundreds of gallons of water every summer,” she says as she demonstrates how the system works.
Watkins placed her rain barrel next to her home and attached it to the gutter’s downspout using a diverter. Rainwater travels through the downspout until it fills the barrel. When the rain barrel is full, water will drain through the downspout like normal.
To help the rain barrel blend into her garden, she added soil and planted flowers on top of the barrel.
“The barrel will get me through a week-and-a-half of watering my garden … before it’s empty,” Watkins says. “It takes a single rainstorm to fill up.”
When using Watkins’ method, be sure to only use rainwater for plants you will not eat. Roof runoff water may contain potential contaminants that could be dangerous to consume, but water management experts say nonedible plants and flowers are fair game to be used with rainwater.
How it’s helping
As temperatures rise, you’ll likely need more water to keep your green spaces healthy and thriving. Unfortunately, this can lead to higher water bills, so using rainwater in your garden can help offset costs.
Americans use copious amounts of water for landscape irrigation, especially in the summertime. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates landscape irrigation accounts for about one-third of all residential water use. This equates to roughly 9 billion gallons each day.
The next time you get a summer downpour, you could use Watkins’ hack and put some of that water to good use with a rain barrel.
What everyone’s saying
Fellow Instagram users were impressed by Watkins’ rain barrel in the comment section.
“What a great way to water plants,” one user wrote.
“Great idea with the flowers on top,” another user added.
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