Learn how to collect rainwater as an eco-friendly way to have enough water for your gardening needs, plus other activities such as washing the car or your pet.

It’s also better for your budget if you live in an area where you have to pay for water. Rainwater is free.

A feature image for a blog post about how to collect rainwater.

In Canada, most areas get enough rain throughout the year to make this a viable option for Canadians who want to make it a part of their eco-friendly lifestyle.

There are Several Ways to Collect Rainwater

You can build a proper rainwater collector to catch rain, but you can also do some other simple things to harvest this abundant source of water for your garden.

Below, we’ve outlined ways to collect rainwater. Plus, we’ve included extra tips for watering your garden to keep water wastage as low as possible. It comes in handy during restrictions and it’s better for the environment in general.

Why Is Harvesting Rainwater Beneficial?

Before we get into the ways you can go about harvesting rain for your water needs, let’s outline the benefits of this activity:

  • It’s good for the environment because it saves on water usage.
  • It lowers your costs if you pay for water.
  • It’s generally clean and safe to use.
  • It’s not chlorinated, which is better for plants and grass.
  • It can be relatively simple to do.
  • It can be a good source of water for emergencies.

There are many excellent reasons to collect rainwater and use it for your gardening and other needs. You’ll gain benefits along with the rewards for the environment.

Now, on to the ways you can increase your water supply with rain.

A Barrell and Guttering Rainwater Collector

If you attach an extra piece of guttering to your house and direct it to a barrel, you can collect the water that runs off when it rains. There are videos online that show how to do this or you can get a professional to do it for you.

Covers are Important

You’ll also want to have some type of cover for the barrel, especially if you have small children and pets around your property. A full water barrel can be a potential hazard. A cover also keeps the water cooler and it will evaporate slower. Plus, it keeps debris out of the water.

Recycling a Barrell is Great

It’s extra eco-friendly if you can recycle an old barrel, but you can also buy ready-made rain collectors at hardware stores and garden centers. They’re great if they come with a spigot for easier use of the water.

The Home Depot has a selection of ready-made rain barrels, as does Canadian Tire. You should be able to find one in your area if you prefer to go this route.

Recycle Plastic Bottles as Funnels

If you have access to old plastic bottles such as 2-liter pop bottles, simply cut the bottom out and place them neck down in the soil with the open bottom sticking up.

Create a Funnel

When it rains, the water will collect in the bottle funnel instead of running off, and it will slowly soak into the soil over a longer period of time.

If you take care and supervise the part where you cut the bottoms off the bottles, this is a fun activity to do with children and teach them about recycling and caring for the environment.

Large Pots as Rain Collectors

Recycle large pots with wide openings to use as rain collectors around your garden. If you don’t have enough for this purpose, you can shop garage sales and thrift stores.

Place them around the garden or yard near areas that you’ll need to water often and let them fill naturally when it rains. Place a cloth or something else over the top to keep the water from evaporating too quickly. Then you’ll have water handy when you need it.

Create a Rain Collector Pond

Creating a small pond for collecting rain is another project you can find videos for online or have a professional install for you. It’s basically a large hole lined with pond plastic.

Make Sure to Cover a Pond

Again, you’ll want to have some sort of cover, depending on the size of the hole, and especially to take care if small children and pets use that area of your property. It’s best to keep them away from water barrels and ponds or holes of any size.

Next, we have some tips for watering your garden that will help you waste less water.

Tips for Watering a Garden

If you follow a few guidelines for watering your garden, you’ll conserve your collected rainwater and make it last longer:

  • Water the garden or lawn in the early morning or later in the evening to avoid excessive evaporation.
  • Keep your soil healthy with compost to retain water longer.
  • Water plants at the roots to avoid an excess run-off.
  • If you don’t use products with harsh chemicals for dishes or baths, use your “gray water” to water plants.

Collecting rainwater is an easy way to increase your water supply for less cost, and it’s better for the environment, adding to your eco-friendly gardening efforts.

4 thoughts on “How to Collect Rainwater”

  1. This would be a great idea as the water here in Florida is just ridiculous, price-wise that is.  When it rains, it really rains.  I have rain gutters on my house, what is the best way to save the water pouring out of the gutters?  I can see really saving on water if I could find a way to reuse it.

    1. Yes, in some places water cost and shortage are real issues. Collecting rainwater can be a good solution for outdoor activities like washing the car or watering gardens. And, since you get large amounts of rain it’s a good idea to take advantage.

      If you’re looking at accessing your gutter system and don’t feel it’s something you can do yourself, you could consult a professional who will know how to set it up for you. You’d have to decide if it’s worth the cost. There are also videos if you search online and have a friend or family member who could do it with the right instructions.

      One thing to make sure of is to have a cover or lid for the water container. It’s important for safety, but also because the heat will evaporate the water swiftly if you leave it uncovered.

  2. Saving water is very important in so many areas of the world. These are great tips for ways to collect rainwater, thereby helping the planet as well as ourselves. 

    There are so many chemicals in our “clean” water that using rainwater as much as possible has to be better for the plants and then of course better for us when we eat the food. We do have a barrel to collect rainwater and it does make a big difference for watering the garden in summer especially.

    The tip about compost is a good one too as are the better ways to water your garden. I am always amazed by people who water a garden in the middle of the day, it’s such a pointless exercise.

    Enjoyed the post and all the tips, thank you. 

    1. Yes, sometimes we get into the habit of doing things a certain way, like just turning on the tap every time we want water. But with a bit of effort, we can harvest a different source of water and cut down on waste and cost.

      Sometimes it’s a matter of thinking about how things used to be done, instead of the newer convenient methods that encourage waste.

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