Rain Barrels for Just the Tax? Yes Please!

As we all discovered yesterday we've got some challenges when it comes to fixing the downspouts so they don't pour all over the areas where we walk. But we also have some areas where they dump right into the foundation and because there isn't great drainage against the house the water sits against the foundation and that's really not good for it.

We'd planned to install some wine barrels in 2 locations in the backyard (against our neighbor's garage and along the back of the addition), but in the front yard we'd just planned to build french drains and dump them further into the yard.

The downspout we worked on yesterday will drain into a french drain that extends into the yard

We've got another downspout in the front that just dumps water right up against the house

Having water pool against your foundation is NEVER a good thing

Because this downspout is close to the other one, we'll dig a trench to connect them together

Then there's a third downspout in the "front." It's actually on the side of the house

But like the other downspout, it dumps water right against the foundation (very bad) and also dumps water all over our neighbor's driveway (not nice)

We had planned on re-doing the downspout so that it came over the top of the window, over the little wall and then we'd dig another trench and have it drain into the yard. One of the cons of this solution (aside from all the work re-routing it would take) is that the trunk of the tree that was planted here and we took down was never removed, we just grinded it down

So we weren't looking forward to having to trench for this downspout. Insert our trip to the Urban Farmer in Richmond a couple days ago. We were there to pick up a light kit (a free service they offer that allows you to take a bunch of their lights home to figure out the placement and style you like best before buying any). The woman helping us asked what city we live in and when we said Oakland she asked if we knew about the rain barrel program. No, what is this program you speak of kind woman? Ummmmmm: you get to buy rain barrels for JUST THE TAX. Holy crapola! Well, now that you mention it, sign us up for a rain barrel against the back of the house

Against our neighbor's garage (that still needs some more work too)

And maybe on the side of the house next to the laundry room too

But wait for it....we could fit a GINORMOUS one on the side of the house where the terrible re-routing, trenching into an old tree stump downspout is

(you like that super big weed? It's like 4 feet tall.) That was music to our ears: CHEAP rain barrels and less digging and downspout re-routing. Amazing. If you live in the city of Oakland, here is information on the program. It runs through the end of December.

After we went home to measure and make sure that everything fit okay, Chris stopped by Urban Farmer after work yesterday to put in our order. He ordered:

1. One 60 gallon barrel (against the addition) for $5.36 (normally $61.20)
2. Two 130 gallon barrels (against our neighbor's garage and the side of the house by the laundry room) for $30.45 (normally $687).
3. One 305 gallon barrel (side of the house towards the front where we thought we'd have to re-rout the downspout) for $40.11 (normally $995).

Alas, he was thwarted however when he found out that the maximum order is 620 gallons and ours was 625, doh! He could have filled out a bunch of paperwork detailing why we needed that many rain barrels, but we really don't need them, we just want them. So he resolved to drop the small, 60 gallon rain barrel and we'll just buy a wine barrel like we did for the downspout attached to our garage.

Our tentative total came out to $101.01, but we'll have to buy some adapters and hardware, so it'll end up being a bit over $200 with all the accessories. If we paid full price it would be $2369!!!! That is a fucking crazy good deal. And now we're quite excited to get our barrels, the only downer is that they'll take 6-8 weeks to arrive.


Heather said...

Do you have a plan for when they overflow? The barrels fill really quickly and then they dump any overage out the side, or right next to your house. I ended up yanking my barrel because of this, until Greg can enginerd a solution that takes the overflow AWAY from the house.

aptpupil said...

the biggest one at the front of the house will be difficult to figure out an overflow plan since the knee wall is in the way. with the others, though, it's not going to be an issue - we're just going to run an overflow hose to a safe distance away from the foundation.
btw, this money came from the american recovery and reinvestment act of 2009 (aka the stimulus), just so everyone know where some of their money went.