How to install a rain water butt / barrel in your garden

Many gardeners have realised the huge advantage of having a water barrel / butt installed in their garden. An average house roof can produce 24,000 litres of water if the rain that falls on it is channeled into water butts so that it can be used on the garden. Rain water is far better for plants than tap water, and utilising this natural source of water can save you money if you are on a water metre. It is really quite an easy job to install a water barrel / butt, and if you link two together you can store twice as much water because when one fills up it will overflow into the second barrel / butt. Even if you only have a small garden you can buy space saving water barrels / butts, often square shaped, that conveniently fit into corners. You can even buy wall mounted barrels / butts.

What you will need

Two Water Butts / Barrels Linked Together

Water barrel / butt

Water barrel / butt stand

Connector kit

Diverter kit

watering can


Power drill

Appropriate sized drill bit

Spirit level





Find an appropriate downpipe in a suitably convenient spot to install your water barrel / butt. Ensure the ground is level, and then place the water barrel / butt stand below it. Place the barrel / butt on top of the stand and then make sure that the watering can will fit underneath the tap.

Using the pencil to make a mark on the downpipe level with the height of the water barrel / butt. Using the hacksaw cut the downpipe off 3cm below the mark, being careful to make sure the cut lines up with the entrance point to the butt / barrel.

Attach the rain diverter to the downpipe on the cut section.

Now drill a hole through the water butt / barrel 8cm down from the top edge.

Fit the water butt connector by inserting into the hole and using the provided screws to fix it in place.

Now you can attach the water butt / barrel connector to the diverter, again, using the provided fittings.

Lock the lid in position on top of the water butt to keep children and animals from falling into it, and to prevent mosquitoes laying their eggs in the water.

Top Tips

If you know a period of heavy rain is due, use the water already contained in your water butts / barrels to fill as many extra buckets and watering cans as you can lay hands on. This will make more room in the butts / barrels to collect fresh rain water.

Use a water butt / barrels treatment regularly to keep the water in your butts / barrels fresh.

If you want to use your rain water with a garden sprinkler system invest in a water butt / barrel pump.