We believe that a part of our downsized lifestyle is being more environmentally aware. Having used a rain barrel at our previous home, we knew the benefits. We used it to water the garden and only needed to use city water when we had a long dry spell.
We brought our rain barrel and stand with us when we moved. After we set up our garden here, we once again installed our rain barrel. We wanted to install it sooner, however, we had to wait due to the construction and landscaping changes that were needed in the backyard. When we installed new gutters and downspouts earlier this spring, we had the downspout placed in the same position as the original. However, instead of letting the water from that downspout flow into a drain tile out to the driveway, and into the storm sewer, we would be capturing it in a rain barrel.
Andy leveled out the ground and placed the stand and rain barrel. Prior to that, he removed the bottom portion of the downspout. When the barrel was in place, he connected a flex hose to the opening in the top of the barrel and the upper portion of the downspout.
This is a 55 gallon barrel that we purchased about 4 years ago from the Habitat for Humanity Restore. It came with the spigot and the overflow pipe. We have replaced the spigot once.
Obviously, rainwater is better for our garden. It is highly oxygenated and free of the chlorine, salts and fluoride compounds found in most city water. If you don’t have a rain barrel, please consider one. By collecting this natural resource, you can redirect the water where you need it. You will also have your own water source for your garden or lawn in times of drought or watering restrictions. To increase the amount of water we are collecting, we are looking at adding a second barrel.
In addition to cutting down on our city water use and providing our garden and flowers with better water, the rain barrel is also helping to prevent erosion on that side of the house. The drain tile that was there carried rain water down into a part of the yard that is held in place by a retaining wall. The soil level in that area had been decreasing over the years and we needed to slow down the erosion. Eventually we will need to redo that area. Diverting the water to the rain barrel will allow us to put that project off for now.
Wanting to take energy conservation a bit further at this home, we decided to install a clothesline. One of the reasons we installed the clothesline is our dryer is old. Really old! We are not ready to purchase a new one and have struggled with it since our move. Large items take way too long to dry. A clothesline sounded like a good option to a new dryer. We did research into clotheslines to find the best type for our yard.
The research also confirmed our decision. Line drying saves money! Especially in the summer months when we want to cool our home with an air conditioner. Another benefit that I love is clothes hung out to dry smell fresher. No need for the chemicals and perfumes in dryer sheets or fabric softeners. It is also gentler on clothing. The tossing and tumbling in a dryer will cause wear and strain on the fabric.
The ultra-violet rays in sunlight help to bleach and disinfect laundry. This is good for white and light colored sheets and towels. However, not so good for the darker colored clothes. I am turning our jeans inside out when hanging them on the line. A portion of the clothesline is partially shaded, so I will put those darker colored clothes there.
We decided on an umbrella style clothesline. It is inserted into a socket that is cemented into the ground. The clothesline can be removed and put away when not in use. This eliminates the need to trim the grass around it. This style does not have as much room for large items, but it works for us.
We purchased an Everbilt Outdoor Clothes Dryer at The Home Depot. Andy dug the hole the required depth and width according to the instructions. The bottom portion was filled with 5 inches of gravel. He them added the concrete and let it set a bit.
When it was starting to set, he inserted the socket or base into the center of the concrete, being careful not let the cement touch the cap. We then placed the pole of the dryer into the socket and made sure it was level.
He carefully removed the clothesline pole and closed the cap. We wanted it set up at least 24 hours before using it and we didn’t want dog prints in the cement. An upside-down bucket, topped with a half-bucket of water provided enough weight to keep them away.
Here is our backyard with the clothesline set up. On the left is our garden and compost barrel. It is a short trip from the rain barrel to the garden. The beautiful dog is our girl, Max.
We believe that our rain barrel and clothesline are great investments that will have positive impacts on our home, our money and the environment. We are curious if our readers also have rain barrels or clotheslines. Leave a comment and let us know.