Keeping busy around the yard and with my garden now planted I knew I needed some way to store rainwater for watering my crops. After the recycling man complained again about my using this large recycling bin for paper (I'm the nice guy and pre-sort everything for them including the paper which was stored in this lidded container to keep it dry and therefore light) for reasons which I can't fathom I decided to re-purpose it for my garden.
- Electric Drill with bits to suit your chosen screws
- Mitre/Circular/Hand or Table Saw (you'll only need 1)
- Hammer - any will do, heavier hammers will work faster but less precisely
Step 1: Making Plans
Taking measurements of the barrel I settled on a size of 445mm square, this would provide a base a little wider than that of the barrel on all sides while making maximum use of the wood I had lying around and being conveniently the same size as five 2×4's laid side by side (89mm×5=445mm). Drawing out a plan I knew I would need seven 445mm pieces and three pieces 369mm long for the sides and cross piece. For the legs I found an old piece of pressure treated 4×4 and after removing the rotten end I measured it up and found I would be able to split it equally in to four pieces 425mm long.
In addition to the wood I also used a total of forty two #10 3.5" deck screws left over from other projects which the same as my raised bed come with an anti-corrosion coating. Now taking my mitre saw I cut everything to length ready for assembly. As always safety first and make sure you wear safety glasses.
Step 2: Assembly
I began by assembling the sides, I laid out the long sides and positioned the shorter ones in between, clamping them in place I drove two screws per corner from the long side in to the short snugging them up just below the surface of the wood. Next I added the cross brace with a pair of screws at either end. After assembly I realised that I had inserted it in the wrong direction and it should have gone across the centre of all five top boards, it shouldn't affect strength overall however so I left it as is rather than have unsightly holes left behind.
Next I laid out the top boards and beginning at one side I checked for square and put the first screw in place, now checking for square again and holding it in place I put the second screw in place on the opposite end. Now it was just a matter of attaching the other four boards. The central board because of the cross brace screws I had to put two screws at either end, if you put the cross brace across all the boards you'll only need a single screw at each end and a single in the middle instead of the two I used, these "spare" (+2) screws would then be used to attach the cross brace to all five top boards.
The final stage of assembly was the legs, these took 4 screws each, 2 from either direction and as the photo shows staggered on the 45 and in opposite directions in opposite corners, as with all other screws they were driven in just beneath the surface and the legs were checked for square as I progressed on each one.
Step 3: Installation
I already knew where I wanted the barrel to go, next to the end of my shed ready for future gutter installation and connection. I chose a spot that was bare of vegetation and relatively flat. Placing the stand on the ground I checked for level. Being slightly out in two directions I took a scrap piece of 2×4 and placed it across the stand to protect the surface, before hitting it with a regular 16oz claw hammer at the high points to drive the legs in to the ground a little in to the ground. A heavier hammer like a sledge would be faster at this but also much less precise and would be very easy to over do it. In an ideal world I would prefer a small concrete pad to skip this step and provide a better foundation for supporting the final weight of the barrel plus water, but cost is key here and using material I had to hand this stand cost me nothing.
Step 4: Finishing Up
Finally with the stand in place I positioned the barrel on top and began filling it with the rain water I had already collected. In this area being able to water my crops with clean chlorine free water is something that I'm excited about as the water in our area is heavily chlorinated to the point of being undrinkable which can't be good for my plants either. As you can see from the photos after yesterdays short downpour I was able to fill the barrel completely and that should sustain my garden well over the next couple of weeks until our next major downpour.
I hope you enjoyed this Instructable, and I promise for the next one I will actually take photos during construction!
In the coming weeks I plan on working out an irrigation system for my crops, I'm thinking of using some small diameter tubing I have which with small holes along its length will be connected to the barrel. I'm hoping the 18" height above the ground will provide enough pressure to make this work, but it's going to be trial and error. Stay tuned for the Instructable!