February is an ideal time of year to start collecting rainwater to use in the garden. Using a water butt is environmentally friendly because it reuses naturally occurring water rather than drawing on the water supply, but it also has other advantages. It can:
- Save you money on water bill
- Avoid those frustrating hosepipe bans in hot weather
- Benefit plants, as it doesn’t contain the chemicals that tap water does.
Choosing a water butt
There are water butts available for all sizes of garden, from classic large round butts to smaller, square models designed to snuggle against a wall and take up less ground space.
Placing a water butt
It’s best to attach a butt to a building with guttering so that rain runs from the drainpipe into the butt. You can attach the butt at the bottom of a drainpipe, trimming the pipe to go into the butt and putting an overflow pipe into the drain below. Alternatively, you can fit a rain trap and a connecting pipe to a drainpipe to reach to a more convenient location for the butt.
Installing a water butt
- Positioning the butt under the downpipe, raise the base off the ground with a stand or bricks so that you can fit a watering can underneath the tap.
- Mark where the top of the butt comes to on the pipe and take it off the stand.
- Saw through the pipe 3cm below the mark and attach the rainwater diverter to the cut pipe.
- Drill a hole in the butt 8cm from the top to fit the connector.
- Push the connector through the drilled hole and screw in.
- Attach the connector to the diverter with the fitting.
- Put on lid and secure it.
Cover your water butt carefully to stop leaves and other debris falling in; this will help to prevent algae forming. If you do get slime or scum on the surface, you can buy a biological rainwater treatment to get rid of it. If you children use your garden, make sure the lid of the butt is secure and not accessible.
Need help with garden maintenance in Oxford or installing a water butt in Oxford? Get in touch on 01235 538029 or firstname.lastname@example.org.