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For a long time, my favorite DIY project that I’ve ever done was my DIY compost bin. But my dad and I completed a big project a few weeks ago that is my new favorite: a DIY rain barrel stand that will hold multiple rain barrels! I love the idea of collecting rainwater to help water the garden, and I plan to eventually set up an entire drip watering system for watering our raised bed garden automatically with collected rainwater. But until then, I can water by hand using rainwater collected from our roof!
The rain barrel stand is super sturdy, and holds those three barrels no problem, even when they are totally full of water! I plan on getting another rain barrel at some point, so we built the platform large enough to hold four rain barrels.
We had a huge storm the day after we finished the platform, and it rained enough to fill all the barrels all the way up. Then we had a long dry spell, and I was able to use the rainwater we collected to water the raised bed garden, all of the planter beds in the backyard, and all of the landscaping in the front yard! After all that watering, the barrels were empty, but they filled right back up again after the next big rain. The barrels don’t collect enough water for us to completely get rid of the garden hose that’s attached to the house, but about 75% of the water we use in the garden is rainwater nowadays, which is awesome!
If you want to collect rainwater, it’s super easy to get a rain barrel (or four!) and build a stand for them! Unlike the hose connected to our house, the rain barrels aren’t connected to a pump, so we’re at the mercy of gravity and the weight of the water to supply the water pressure. This is why the rain barrel stand is so tall. The conventional wisdom is that to run a drip irrigation system from your rain barrels, the bottom of the rain barrel (where the spigot is) needs to be at least 2 feet above the top of your garden. Normally that would mean your stand needs to be about 2’ tall to water plants at ground level, but since I want to use the rainwater to water the raised garden bed, we had to make our stand about 5’ tall. The higher your stand, the more water pressure you’ll have when watering, so feel free to go super tall if you have the room!
The following instructions will tell you how to build the DIY rain barrel stand exactly the same way we did, with the dimensions we used. The deck of our DIY rain barrel stand is 28″ by 106″, and it is 5′ up off the ground, with the 4×4 posts extending about 11″ up past the deck to help prevent the rain barrels from tipping over. Depending on the size of your rain barrels, how many barrels you have, and how tall you want your stand to be, you may need to modify the dimensions in the tutorial slightly to make everything fit.
DIY Rain Barrel Stand For Multiple Rain Barrels
- 1.5 days (time spent doing stuff)
- 3 hours (time spent waiting around)
- 2 days/one weekend (total project time)
I went to Home Depot’s website and made a list of everything we used to make this DIY rain barrel stand. I entered the correct quantities for this project, so just click the “Add To Cart” button below each item to add it to your cart and you’ll have all the parts you need! Click here to see the DIY rain barrel stand parts list.
- post hole digger
- cordless drill
- 5/8″ x 6″ drill bit
- square drive bit
- socket wrench
- jig saw
- circular saw or chop saw
- tape measure
- carpenter square
- 6 bags of fast-setting concrete mix
- 6 4″ x 4″ x 10′ posts
- 3 2″ x 6″ x 10′ boards
- 3 1″ x 4″ 12′ boards
- 8 5/4” x 6″ x 10′ decking boards
- 28 1/2″ x 6” galvanized hex bolts
- 56 1/2″ flat washers
- 28 1/2″ hex nuts
- 2-1/2” deck screws
- 2 2″ x 6″ galvanized joist hangers
- 2 10″ concrete deck blocks
Start by clearing out the space where you plan to put the rain barrel stand. We wanted to put our stand in the utility area along the side of the house so that it would be hidden by the DIY trellis screen I made a while back. Dad and I raked away all the gravel in the area so that we could dig holes for the posts.
Dad dug two feet deep holes for the posts at all four corners. For the two posts in the center of the stand, we supported them with 10″ concrete deck blocks rather than digging holes all the way into the ground.
We cut four of the 4×4 posts to 94″ tall for the corner posts, and put one in each hole. We poured fast-setting concrete mix in the hole, then added water to set the concrete. The great thing about this concrete mix is that you don’t need to pre-mix it; you can just add the dry mix straight into the hole, then soak it with water and the concrete will set in 20-40 minutes.
We screwed a few pieces of scrap wood into the 4×4 posts to hold them in place while the concrete set (it’s important to make sure everything is level before the concrete hardens!)
The concrete set quickly, and after about an hour we went back outside to build the framing for the deck. We cut two 2×6 boards to 104″ for the deck ledgers (the boards at the front and back of the deck that the joists are attached to) and cut five 2×6 boards to 24″ for the joists themselves. We measured up 59″ from the ground, then attached the front ledger board to the 4×4 posts at that height. The exact height for this board doesn’t matter too much; just make sure that the bottom of the rain barrels will be at least 2′ above the ground you will be watering.
To attach the front ledger board, we drilled two 5/8” holes through the ledger board and through the 4×4 behind it, then put washers on two 6” bolts and stuck them through the holes. We put another washer on the back of each bolt, then added a nut and tightened the nuts down onto the bolt using the socket wrench.
Next we attached two joists and the back ledger board to complete the frame around all four corner posts. At every joint between a 2×6 board and a 4×4 post, we used the same configuration of bolts, washers, and nuts to hold it all together.
Then it was time to add the center posts. The center posts are supported by concrete deck blocks set on a 6” deep concrete pad. We figured out where we wanted the posts to go, then dug shallow holes for the concrete pads. We created the concrete pads by pouring more of the fast-setting concrete mix into the shallow holes, then soaking the mix with water. While the concrete pads were still wet, we set the concrete deck blocks on top.
We cut two more 4×4 posts to 68″ for the center posts and put the bottom end of each post into one of the concrete deck blocks. We attached the posts to the ledger board using two 6” bolts, the same way we did for all the other joints. We cut two small 18″ sections of 4×4 and attached them to the front ledger board with 6″ bolts, centering them between the center post and the corner posts. We made sure these short 4×4’s stuck up above the deck about the same height as the other 4×4’s to help keep the rain barrels from tipping.
Then we added the remaining joists. For the joist in the center of the stand, we attached it to the 4×4 posts with 6″ bolts, the same way the outside joists were attached. The other two joists were attached to the short 4×4’s with 6″ bolts, and we used galvanized joist hangers to attach the joists to the back ledger board.
To add strength to the frame, we used 1×4 cedar boards to create cross pieces at the back and sides of the 4×4 posts. The cross pieces on the back of the stand formed a “V” from the bottom of the ledger board on one side, down to the concrete deck block in the center, and up again to the bottom of the ledger board on the other side. We measured and cut a 1X4 cedar board to those lengths, then attached the cross pieces to the 4×4 posts using 2-1/2″ deck screws.
For the cross pieces on the sides of the stand, we measured from the bottom of the ledger board on one 4×4 post to the ground next to the other 4×4 post, then cut another 1×4 cedar board to the right length. We attached these cross pieces to the 4×4’s with screws also, and we made sure that the two boards went in opposite directions so that if you look through the stand from the end, the boards make an “X”.
Once the concrete was all set, the framing for the DIY rain barrel stand was ready to go, and the last piece we needed was to add the decking.
We cut X 5/4” decking boards to X long. Dad used the jigsaw to cut out holes for the 4×4 posts that stuck up past the deck.
We installed the decking boards by using 2-1/2” deck screws to screw them into the joists.
Once the decking was installed, the DIY rain barrel stand was finished!
We put the empty rain barrels up on the stand and connected them with short hoses at the bottom of the barrels. This way all three barrels will fill at the same rate, and function like one giant rain barrel. If you prefer, you can connect your rain barrels at the top, which will allow you to use the additional rain barrels to collect the overflow from the first rain barrel. The problem with this configuration is you have to move your hose from barrel to barrel in order to use the water from all three barrels, whereas if they are all connected at the bottom, you can attach the hose to one barrel and it will empty all three barrels at the same time.
Dad connected the downspout to the rain barrel using a flexible connector that came with our rain barrels.
And we were done!
It rained later that night and filled all three barrels, and I was able to use that rainwater to water the raised garden bed, the back yard planter beds, and all of the landscaping in the front yard later that week!
I’m loving having the rain barrels, and next summer I’m going to set up a drip irrigation system from the rain barrels to the raised garden bed; I’ll share it here when I’m done, so keep an eye out for that!
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