Rain Barrel Stand and Installation




Introduction: Rain Barrel Stand and Installation

About: I like to design and build random things.

The purpose of a rain barrel is to catch rainwater from a downspout and store it for future use. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that a rain barrel will save most gardeners about 1,300 gallons of water during the hot summer months. Saving water not only helps protect the environment, it saves money and energy. Diverting water from storm drains also decreases the impact of runoff to streams.

The rain barrel shown in this instructable was provided by a local Community Rain Barrel Program and was funded by a grant through the Chesapeake Bay Trust. To participate in the program, the user had to supply their own platform (at least 2 feet high) and be willing to help raise awareness of the program. This instructable documents the stand build and the installation of the rain barrel to the downspout.

Video of the Installation:

Step 1: Tools/Materials


  • Table or Miter Saw
  • Pocket hole jig (optional)
  • Drill/Bits
  • Tape measure


  • Pressure Treated 4”x4”x8’ (x2)
  • Pressure Treated 2”x4”x8’ (x2)
  • Deck Screws
  • Pocket Hole Screws (optional)
  • Stain or Paint (optional)
  • Rain Barrel & Attachment Kit

Step 2: You Will Be Building to This Drawing

Step 3: Legs

Cut four 4x4s to 34.5" long. Notch the ends as shown. I used multiple passes on a table saw with the blade set to 1.75” high to make the notches. The video below shows another option using a miter saw.

Step 4: Top Support

Cut two supports as shown. Again, I used a table saw for the notches.

Step 5: Side Supports

Cut four 2x4 side supports to 13" long.

Step 6: Leg Assembly

Attach the top support to the legs with deck screws (3” long). Attach the side support to the legs as shown. I used a pocket hole jig to make this connection. Repeat this process to make another leg assembly.

Step 7: Connect Leg Assy

Attach the two leg assemblies together with the remaining 13” supports. Again, I used a pocket hole jig for these connections.

Step 8: Cut Top Pieces

Cut five 2x4s to 21" long.

Step 9: Attach Top

Attach top pieces as shown. I used deck screws from the top side.

Step 10: Paint/Stain (optional)

The wood is pressure treated so this step is optional. This stand is coated with cabernet colored stain from Varathane and a polyurethane from Minwax

Step 11: Installation Instructions

I'm showing a excerpts from EarthMinded Rainstation User Guide. For detailed instructions, refer to the user manual shown HERE.

Step 12: Select/Prepare Site

  1. Locate close to downspout
  2. Make sure stand is level
  3. If spigtot will be used, make sure it is easily accessible

Step 13: Install Spigot and Drain

Insert threaded seals into pre-drilled holes. Thread drain assembly and spigot into seals.

Step 14: Barrel Inlet

Drill 1.5" diameter hole for water inlet. Note that the rain barrel kit includes hole saws. Insert fill hose seal into hole.

Step 15: Downspout Hole

With barrel in place, mark a reference line at the same elevation as the top of the barrel (lid not included). Measure 3" below this reference line and mark the center of the downspout. Use the provided 2 1/8" hole saw to cut a hole into the downspout.

Step 16: Install Diverter

Insert diverter into the downspout hole. Use two self-tapping screws to attach the diverter to the downspout.

Step 17: Barrel to Diverter Hose Connection

Expand hose to desired length. Press one end into barrel seal and the other end into diverter.

Step 18: Install Lid

Snap lid over the rim of barrel. Use two self tapping screws to secure lid.

Step 19: Final Product

Step 20: Update - Shut Off Valve and Soaker Hose Addition

Multiple people asked why the faucet was so high. We've attached a soaker hose & valve to the bottom drain as shown. The soaker hose is placed next to the shrubs that surround the deck. It takes about 4 hours to drain a full tank of water with the soaker. We now have two options to extract water from the tank.



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    34 Discussions

    This is a great looking stand for a rain barrel--looks super sturdy!

    I have a question about that diverter though . . . it doesn't appear that it would catch all the rainwater than comes down the downspout. How does that work?

    2 replies

    Yep, it's a tank. You're right, it doesn't catch all the rainwater. Instead of me trying to explain it, refer to the link in Step 11. Go to Step 6 inside the document for an explanation of the diverter. It works great. It poured down last night and the barrel is full. The water is now exiting out the downspout.

    That's brilliant! I hadn't considered overflow, but that makes complete sense now. Awesome stuff!

    We sell basically the same thing, and it appears you have access options at both the middle and the bottom of the barrel. Ours come with one hose bib and one hose threaded cap Since your barrel is elevated on the stand, why not put the hose bib at the bottom so you can access all of the water?

    7 replies

    I was thinking the same thing. Blindly, I followed the instructions for the initial setup. I assume the bib is up high for ground mount applications. On a side note, I live in a very windy area so having water in the bottom will hopefully prevent the barrel from blowing away. Also, I plan to add a valve and soaker hose to the bottom drain.

    Well... Pretty simple and effective solution... But I can't stop wonder about some other way to secure the barrel from blowing away, not water ballast at the bottom... ))

    What about green water / odours? How often do you clean the barrel? How long do you practice rainwater harvesting?

    Yes, I could anchor it to the wall. That is also a good idea if you have small kids. This is my first rain barrel. No odors yet. I plan to use it for the spring through fall seasons. I will take it down in the winter and clean it.

    I see, thank you. We have here two abandoned cesspits, two holes just in the ground taled with bricks I wanna convert into pair of rainwater BARRELS (~ 8 cubic meters in total) but they have to be thoroughly disactivated ))) to begin with... I'm not sure if is it possible - not for drink for sure )) but for watering our vegetables and trees. Then I have to waterproof them from inside since they have been constructed as FILTERING tanks, not collecting... That is my plan!.. Plan is GREAT but it must be calculated and justified economically. Otherwise "free" water should become "gold" water easily. ))

    Yes, that might get a little pricey. I assume you would use buckets or a pump to get the water out?

    Any buckets XXI century is going on! )) Electric immersible pump (vibrant)... To be honest I suspect mentioned volumes will be ... a bit more volumed than we actually need... )) Brainstorming is in process!

    By the way... Some hacking info for Colorado inhabitants and all potential lifehackers...

    Water counters' SENSITIVITY THRESHOLD here in Ukraine (ex-USSR) are typically about 5 gallons (0,015 cubic meters) per hour, even up to 0,03 (!) cubic meters...

    In other words you can harvest up to ... or much more than 100 gallons of PURE (not rain) water per twenty-four hours. ABSOLUTELY FOR FREE. And I suspect nobody can accuse you of state laws' violation. ))

    And by the way once again: your perfect barrel stand is turned out tu be very useful thing this way. )) The higher stand - the higher pressure in your PERSONAL and FREE water-supply system.

    It is not a GREEN idea, I must confess.

    Yes, I was surprised when the first person posted that collecting rain water was illegal in Colorado.

    Link to a story:


    However, for most states, this isn't an issue. I suggest checking your local laws before installing a rain barrel.

    Note that my barrel was provided by my local goverment to help improve the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay. For more reasons, follow this link.


    I would suggest a first flush diverter such as one from AWG Rain Harvesting. Even if the water is not intended for consumption, the debris that enters the barrel will cause problems and is hard to clean out.

    2 replies

    Good suggestion. However, I have no tall trees (yet) so the only debris is from the shingled roof. Also, the water is only used for plants around the deck. I plan to take it down in the winter - quick flush at that point.

    Yep, if it is used only for watering gardens then the debris (bird crap, dead bugs and other stuff) is beneficial to the plants. Taking it down in the winter helps. I have a neighbor that uses a collapsible barrel and drains it in the fall before it freezes.

    Good job! Well written and with enough detail. Thank you.

    Had you considered using a standard 55 gal HDPE (food grade) drum for the water catchment system? These have integrated ends, and bung caps on one end that can be replaced with caps that have a 3/4" knockout and NPT female threads to receive a spigot. In that case, elevation is definitely needed to access the spigot as well as to create a little head pressure for a drip system. A drum typically has two bung plugs, one course thread and one fine thread. Bung caps are sold singularly (fine or coarse) or as a pair (one fine, one coarse). A 55 gallon drum full of (fresh) water will weigh about 450 pounds, so the platform needs to support that weight. Using a pallet resting atop cinder blocks might work, too.

    Using a 55 gallon drum would still require drilling a hole for the inlet near the "top." Note: with the bung holes pointing toward the ground, the "top" of the tank had initially been the bottom of the tank, i.e., bung holes are at the top of a 55 gallon drum.

    1 reply

    I like that diverter. I approve these systems in my city and the most common violation is that the overflow outlet doesn't connect back in to the sewer as required. This solves that problem very neatly. I'll have to see if I can start recommending this device. Thanks for the info; you just met your requirement to promote the project!