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I am lazy.  A few years ago I got tired of having to manually water the 15-20 potted plants around our patio, so I put in an automatic drip irrigation system.  I would have liked to run the same system to the side of our house where we have 7 potted plants on and near a side porch, but unfortunately I would have to have crossed about 60 feet of pavement, and it didn't seem to be worth the effort.

So, I bought a water barrel and connected it to a downspout, and that kept me from having to carry water through the house in buckets to water these plants.  But, like I said, I'm lazy, so I decided to try my hand at automatic watering from the rain barrel.

Step 1: Materials required

You need a water barrel, of course, or some other container to use as a water supply. 

Since my plan centered on using a fountain pump hooked to a timer, I needed a fountain pump that would be able to lift water at least 6.5 feet (since one of the plants is on a shelf).  I had an old fountain pump, but unfortunately it would only lift about 4 feet.  I found a 300-500 gph fountain pump locally, and this pump has a lift of 8.7 feet, which was more than adequate.

In addition to the pump, I used an electronic timer, about 20 feet of plastic 1/2 inch tubing, 16 feet of 1/4 inch hose, and an assortment of drip irrigation bubblers and fittings.

The tool requirement was basically something to cut the rubber hose with.  I used a shop knife, but you could also use scissors or a really mean dog....

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<p>could this work if I attached a hose timer to the spigot at the bottom of the rain barrel? would I still need a fountain pump?</p>
It depends upon how much water pressure is coming from the rain barrel.
When the barrel is empty, is there something that prevents the punp from turning on? Or does your pump do ok with no water?
I turn the pump off if the barrel gets low.
<p>This looks great and I am going to try this next season. </p><p>You would get better effect if you watered your plants late in the evening or early in the morning. Lower solar evaporation losses than at 4:00PM </p>

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Bio: I enjoy taking a pile of junk and making something unusual out of it. I like wheeled vehicles, and currently own two motorcycles, two electric ... More »
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