Crafting Project – Rain Barrel

It’s not really a rain barrel.  Its purpose is not to store any water.  It’s supposed to be a decorative object to stop erosion and reduce dirt splatter on my house’s new paint job.  It’s more like a rain diffuser.

In the front of the house, there is no gutter (yet).  So the heavy rain will roll off the roof and beat down right in front of the house and ever since the early days when I removed the shrubs along the front of the house, I have had to deal with erosion and splatter.  Right now, there is a line of rock where the water lands, that was the original bed of the shrubs.  In the corner of two roof sections, there is an especially heavy torrent of water that has exposed a lot more stone.  That is where I plan to put the barrel.

I can’t put a large planter with a plant in it because the plant and soil would just be washed out, so it’s going to be planter filled with rocks to diffuse the downpour.  It won’t be completely filled because that would be way too heavy, too expensive, and somewhat pointless.  There will be a fake floor a portion of the way up and the stones will go there to near the top.

This idea came to me when I was researching those flexible gutter downspout extenders. I need a couple for the two downspouts I have that are seriously eroding the area where they exit.  After I had barrel idea, I immediately researched tall planters.  Well, shit.  36″ planters are not cheap.  And I’m not interested in spending $300 on an idea that I may scrap soon, and will scrap once I get gutters installed (after the roofing project).

As it happens, I have some very large planters from a long time ago that were samples from a manufacturer.  I’ve never found a real use for them.  They are extremely durable, but unfortunately, they are the wrong color.  So, maybe I can paint one?  I considered buying some exterior paint from the store in a grey shade, but then I remembered:  I had just thrown away a quart sampler of the other color option for the house – the lighter shade of blue.  Well, I can’t argue with free, and it’s Sherwin Williams, so it’s a good quality paint.  And it’s in the color tone of the house, to boot.  Not exact, just one shade lighter.  That’s supposed to be how you coordinate, right?

As far as a timeline, it was supposed to rain today.  It’s not going to.  The next prediction is next Tuesday, so I have 4 days to complete this.  Not a problem.

I started by cleaning up the planter and leaving it outside to dry before the painting.


First coat went on easily enough.


While it dried, I gave some consideration as to what I would use as the floor.  The best option I came up with was a 5-gallon bucket lid.  It would be sturdy and would sit low enough that a layer of rocks wouldn’t be at the top or over the top.  Even with the rocks in there, it’s going to splash, so trying to keep the water in the container would be a good thing.  I picked up a lid at Lowes.  The cashier said they just changed suppliers for these lids and the UPC had to be keyed in instead of scanned.  The only thing I noticed was the lid was damn flimsy now.

After the second coat dried, I took it to its designated location.  It was… ok.  The erosion on the ground indicated something was a little off about my plan.  During normal rain, the water would fall straight down and would wear away at the ground in one place.  During heavy rains, though, the water would shoot out further and wear away a different location.  One container wouldn’t cover both areas.  Well, I do have another, larger version of the planter that’s not being used either…

Of course, this now takes the project to a whole new level.  Painting the second container is nothing.  I need something to make a floor in this massive container.  I need about a 14″ disc.  I find one on Ebay of 1/8″ plexiglass for $25 including shipping.  That’s part one. 

But I also need drainage holes in the disc.  Drilling plexiglass usually ends up in cracking, so I get some education from YouTube.  Ok.  My options are to buy a special plexiglass drill bit or use a step drill bit.  And while drilling, use the slowest speed possible, lubricate the bit with dish soap, and drill through the plexiglass into a wood block.  Lowe’s and Home Depot don’t carry the plexiglass bits.  I can get one on amazon for $10, or I can get a step bit from Harbor Freight for $7.  I will probably have more use for a step bit in future projects, so there’s my answer.

Still though, this project cost just went up by almost $35.  Let’s get the big container painted (that’s still free and it currently looks like shit anyway) and we’ll leave the other stuff on hold until I think I’m going to like what I already have for cheap.  If the little one doesn’t work out, the big one will just be a bigger disappointment.

Now – filling the thing.  I bought a bag of river rock for about $4. I have no idea how much I’ll need, but I don’t want a lot, because that will collapse the floor.  It just needs to be a solid layer on top.  For support, I can cut up a piece of PVC pipe and stick it under the floor, but I’m not sure that will be needed yet.


Situated out front, it’s a little out of place all by itself.  I’ll have to figure out something else to liven up that area.