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Cut Lawn Care Costs and Roll Out the Barrel

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

If you live under drought conditions, ignore this column. But if you reside in one of the wetter climates of the land, you can stockpile precious rainwater in convenient barrels, saving money on irrigation costs for your lawn and garden. There's nothing new about setting a barrel by one or more of the downspouts of your house. But as more and more Americans look for green solutions, the old is once again in vogue. The best news: you can build your own system or buy a barrel with a childproof lid for $20.

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You can buy or construct faucets that fit your rain barrels, allowing you to attach a garden hose adapter near the base. If you need more water on your lawns than you can possibly collect, at least use the barreled water on your garden or planter beds. By doing so can greatly reduce your total utility and water bill. Figure it this way, if your total roof area is 40x30 feet, you can collect upwards of 700 gallons for every inch of rain that lands on your house.

Lawns Love Rainwater
Water collected in your barrels is free of chemicals typically added by water treatment plants. Putting a screen between the downspout and the opening of the barrel can keep out mosquitoes. If you're worried about them, you can drop mosquito dunks in the barrel. Dunks are donut shaped cakes of biological mosquito larvacide that last about four weeks. The dunks are reportedly safe around humans, critters, and plants.

You can buy pre-made rain barrels online, make your own or, better yet, recycle a 55-gallon food-grade barrel that's been cast away. Plastic trash cans buckle and are poor candidates. You may need to add a runoff hose, or the barrel may overfill. And set your barrels above the ground on cinder blocks.

With a little work, your lawn can enjoy the spoils of your environmentally sound and cost effective watering system.

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About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.



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