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Collecting Rain From a Water Butt for Garden Use

Water Butts


Water can be a scarce resource in the heat of summer. To keep your garden green during hot and sunny weather, installing a water butt is a clever way to collect rainwater so it can be used to water your garden.

How Does a Water Butt Work?

On average, thousands of litres of rainwater fall on the roofs of UK homes every year. A water butt can collect this rainwater from your roof for use in your garden. If you connect a water butt to a downpipe from your guttering, each time it rains the tank will fill up.

You can then use this water you've collected to water your plants, wash driveways and vehicles or even for garden maintenance jobs like cleaning your lawnmower.

Benefits of Having a Water Butt

Save money

During hot and dry weather, outdoor water use accounts for up to 50% of an average household's water consumption. If you like to keep your garden filled with lush plants and green grass, investing in a water butt could significantly reduce your water bills for years to come.

Keep your plants healthy

Rainwater is pH-balanced and free of the chemicals in treated water, like chlorine so your plants prefer it.

Reduce your carbon footprint

Using less tap water decreases the amount of energy needed to treat water and pump it to your home.

Conserve tap water

Reducing our reliance on tap water is also likely to reduce droughts, water restrictions and hosepipe bans.

Luckily, installing a water butt is easier than you might think.

Installing a Water Butt

  • Choose a downpipe from the roof for the for the water butt container to sit beneath. Your water butt should be on level ground, and easily accessible. It should be raised enough for the various smaller containers like your watering can to fit under the tap at the bottom so they can be filled. 
  • Ensure the water butt is secure on its stand and not wobbly. Then mark the downpipe at the height of the water butt. Using a hacksaw, cut the downpipe around 3cm lower than the mark.
  • Fit the rain diverter to the downpipe so that the cut section of it slots onto the base of the diverter.
  • Attach the connector from the water butt with secure screws and fittings.
  • Finally, place the lid firmly on top so that it locks into place. This stops insects, leaves and small animals from getting into your water butt.

Make The Most of Your Rainwater:

Once the water butt is in place, connecting a pump to it offers a useful alternative to a mains tap for quenching the thirst of plants. You can also buy connectors that allow multiple water butt containers to be linked. This is particularly useful if you've got a large garden space.

Try watering plants at night to ensure water is not lost through evaporation on a warm and sunny day.

Watering plants and shrubs too often can make their roots shallow and weak, so leave them alone until they appear to need moisture.

Regular weeding ensures that you don't waste water by feeding unwanted garden visitors.

Young plants and seedlings should be prioritised above their more hardy siblings that can survive for longer periods without moisture.

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