we'll have a barrel of fun (imsosorry)
September 29, 2017 8:14 AM   Subscribe

Recommendations for rain barrels? That are nice looking?

I need two but they are sort of high profile areas and the taupe-y plastic ones aren't really appealing. I'd like something that either has an existing system for covering up the eye sore, or is made out of galvanized metal or something that will age into something that looks right. Or someone with a clever idea about an easy way to hide one.

I'd also kind of like to not pay Restoration Hardware level costs for what is, ultimately, a bucket.

The house is a colonial on heavily wooded land, so utilitarian is fine, it's just that there is nice-utilitarian and a garbage can stuck at the most visible and prettiest sections of the house isn't the thing I want to see every day at the end of the day for four straight seasons.....
posted by A Terrible Llama to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Uhg, I've been going through this too. Every reasonably priced rain barrel looks perfectly at home in front of a McMansion. Depending on aesthetics, wine barrels might work for you? They're relatively inexpensive. Gardenista has a collection of a few that might work for you, depending on budget.

I've looked into using stainless steel kegs, but the price isn't that great either. I've also looked into getting a fabrication shop to just make some square, stainless boxes for us that are water tight (kind of like that last one on the link), the price is better, but not by much. Honestly, just building a wooden housing for the ugliest, cheapest regular barrels is probably going to be the track we take.
posted by furnace.heart at 8:28 AM on September 29

Get a used wine barrel and make your own. Alternatively, build a wooden shell around a plastic rain barrel.
posted by fimbulvetr at 8:57 AM on September 29 [1 favorite]

How handy/willing to DIY it are you ?

DIY may not meet your visual standards, but anything you buy is going to be $$$. (When Ace has a plastic rain barrel in terra-cotta color for $200 :( )

You can buy a used wine barrel, but that can be expensive. Our local winery, 15 years ago, that was $75.

My rain barrels were $15 plastic olive barrels (grey and blue) from local army surplus store that we painted with leaf/foliage patterns to blend it. Honestly, cinderblocks they are on, and the guttering work to fill the barrel and the over-flow are more noticeable than the barrels themselves.
posted by k5.user at 9:02 AM on September 29

In order of increasing cost, you can:
  • Paint a plastic barrel/drum. There are both plastic-compatible spray paints and brush-on paints. Don't use standard interior or exterior latex; it'll peel. The plastic paints are not terribly expensive, though. (I've used Krylon Fusion to paint resin chairs and it works pretty well.)
  • Put some wood facia around a plastic drum. This could be pretty cheap and I've seen kits for doing it, but really you just need to get some strips of PT lumber (or cedar if you want to be faaaancy) that's maybe 1/2" or 3/4" thick, and attach it to the outside of the plastic drum so it looks more barrel-y. I've seen DIY projects where people have done this with Liquid Nails. Then stain the wood a dark-ish color or match your house or whatever you want. This DIY planter project gives you an idea of the finished product, but don't follow those instructions where they tell you to use a brad nailer to attach the boards to the outside, or it'll leak, obviously.
  • Use an actual wood barrel — you can of course do this, but real wood barrels are surprisingly expensive and can rot over time if there isn't air circulation around the outside of them. It might be different in other areas, but where I live actual winemakers keep the price of decent barrels pretty high; the only ones you can get cheaply are ones that aren't good for holding liquid anymore (and they're typically cut in half and sold as planters). IMO, paying wine-barrel prices to hold runoff water is pretty silly.
As an aside, a good source for cheap plastic drums is a car wash. Car wash soaps and other chemicals often come in plastic drums and (I guess) they aren't returnable. I've seen them sold on Craigslist for as low as $5, probably still filled with nasty stuff, to $25-50 for steel ones that have been cleaned out well.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:31 AM on September 29

We have what are essentially these, but we got ours from the County (LA) for free.
They're nice looking, sturdy, and have quality brass fittings.
posted by ApathyGirl at 10:44 AM on September 29

Uhmmm, yeah... we're gonna need more info. What capacity are you looking at? Round or square, or...? Freestanding or against a wall? Some options.
posted by at at 5:26 AM on September 30

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