Yes, you can be green, save money on your utility bills, and still water your plants and garden. Consider a rain barrel to catch water from the roof for use around your yard. This also helps solve problems with excessive water runoff that overloads rivers and streams.

Start by doing a little online research. Your local government or library might also have information. Many municipalities offer advice on using rain barrels or even assist in purchasing and installing rain barrels.

The rain barrel should be elevated off the ground with cement block or pavers, making it easier for you to drain the water when needed. Often, the rain barrel is connected to the gutter downspouts with a simple diverter. Better systems include a screening or strainer system to keep debris from entering the barrel.

Once the rain barrel fills with water, you don’t want it to overflow, so you should include some overflow piping that carries water to an area away from the foundation. In regions with heavy rains, the overflow must have the same capacity as the downspout connection.

When the barrel has water in it, connect a hose to the spout at the bottom and water your outdoor plants.