Rain barrels may seem like a complicated yard feature, but they are actually a very simple way to save water—and money on your water bill. The best part about rain barrels? They’re completely customizable! We’ve gathered five ideas for you to upgrade your rain barrel.

Don’t have a rain barrel? SAWS offers a coupon to use at approved San Antonio-area businesses that sell rain barrels. Or visit our site to learn more about the Rainwater Harvesting programs.

Paint it

Rain Barrel Upgrade

Once you get your rain barrel, make a pit stop at the craft store for some paint supplies. The sky’s the limit when it comes to painting your rain barrel. You can paint it similar to its surroundings to camouflage it, or use bright colors to make it stand out—whichever is your style.

Upcycle with wood

Rain Barrel Upgrade

Not a fan of the look of the original barrel? Cover it up with stained wooden slats! Leftover fence pickets are the perfect width to line up around the barrel. Attach the slats with rope that’s drilled into the wood, which also gives it a rustic vibe. Add a flower pot on top for an extra burst of color.

Put it on a platform

Rain Barrel Upgrade

It’s a simple change, but building or buying a platform for your rain barrel increases water pressure and prevents having to bend over every time you open the faucet. Rain barrel platforms can be made from wood, bricks, cinder blocks, or even old pallets.

Keep the mosquitoes at bay

Rain Barrel Upgrade

Not only are mosquitoes annoying pests, but they carry dangerous diseases that you don’t want anywhere near your water. There are several ways to keep insects away.

  • Add a few tablespoons of natural dish soap or vegetable oil, which create a slick film on the surface of the water.
  • Attach a thin mesh netting across the top of the opening that allows water to get through, but not mosquitoes.
  • Ever seen goldfish swimming around in someone’s rain barrel? They didn’t get there by accident. Goldfish keep mosquitoes away—but be sure to place netting over the top and bring the goldfish inside when it gets too hot or cold outside.

Add a rain chain

Rain Barrel Upgrade

If your rain gutter is getting in the way of your beautiful rain barrel, opt for a rain chain instead. These are simple chains that can be purchased or DIYed and allow water to flow through visibly, instead of hidden inside the gutter.