Rain Barrels & Cisterns

[one_half]Collect every last drop to save money on watering OR disperse it throughout your landscaping!  Rain barrels are a great way to capture the free resource we get plenty of each year.

Save rain water for the summer when we need it most! Rain barrels fill up quickly, so consider installing two or three, and be sure to direct the overflow away from your foundation. Better yet, get a cistern or tank – they come in all shapes and sizes. Have you seen our new brochure on rain water collection?

Why rain barrels?

Rain water is a free resource, that otherwise runs off of our rooftops and down the drain, or the ditch.  Rain barrels and cisterns require little maintenance and are a great way to save money and conserve water as a natural resource.


With a rain barrel you can:


  • Cut your household use of water during the hot summer months.
  • Water your plants with chlorine-free rainwater that they prefer.
  • Clean your car, bike, tools, etc. without ever using the faucet.
  • Provide water to livestock.
  • Save money on water bills.
  • Protect local streams and Puget Sound.



Rain Barrel connected to a down spout.
Rain Barrel connected to a down spout
Rainwater cistern
Rainwater cistern


How much water will I need?

In deciding how big of a tank, or how many rain barrels you’ll need – a good question to ask yourself is “how much water will I need for the summer?”  You may need to start small, with one or two barrels, but the bigger the collection system, the longer it will last you into the summer months when we need to water.

An average residential landscape (without watering the lawn) will need around 2,500 – 3,000 gallons each summer (or 50-60 rain barrels!).

Here is some more guidance:

A good rule of thumb for calculating your watering needs is 0.5 – 1″ a week for most flower and landscape beds. Deep rooted plants, 3-5 years old and used to no watering won’t need to be counted.
A 1,050 sqare foot bed can use 327 to 654 gallons a week. 6-8 weeks of summer….1950 – 3927 gallons….vegetables need more water, 1-2″ per week on average, some things need more (these could be planted with a liner below to keep the soil nicely wet) however not all at once!……but most small gardens have less areas than regular beds or lawns.

Another water saving tip is to Practice Smart Watering, and choose native plants that are adapted to our wet winters and dry summers once established.