What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Everything looks worse in black and white

The long promised photos. First, the over all scheme of things, putting two rain barrels on the same downspout.The green barrel is the one we've had for, I don't know, six years now. It drives me insane. The diverter, that metal, open thing, is what directs water into the barrel. There's a hose on the side for overflow but it is way, way, way too small to handle the flow. So when my wife said she wanted another one, my major concern was how the diverter works. I highly recommend thinking about this before purchasing a rain barrel (here's a little flash animation showing how the new diverter works, this is the company that made my new barrel). The new barrel is the orange one to the right. Okay, so it is supposed to be "terra cotta," it looks very orange. This picture doesn't do it service. Below the barrel you can see the platform I built. I couldn't finish it up on Saturday because that platform isn't friggin' high enough. Argh! On the bottom is a course of cinder block (resting on paver sand on top of #4, all tamped down and leveled) and on top are tumbled brick. The brick are four inches tall, the cinder block is eight inches, so that's sixteen inches up and it needs another four inches. Don't worry, the cinder block will be covered by both dirt (look at the level of the bed with the Irises, that's where it will come to) and larger rocks. Since the cinder block was $1.50 each, and the brick are $4.00 each, yeah, I'm cheap because you're not going to see it.

Tonight I finished up the platform, cut the downspout, and installed the new diverter (no, I don't have photos yet). I messed up the first cut and had to replace part of the downspout (used what I would have used on the drainage project below). But I got it all finished in between clouds. Seriously, it started raining like fifteen minutes after I finished cleaning up.Here's the base of the old rain barrel. I wanted it to look nice. Unfortunately because the overflow doesn't quite work (and the top tends to plug up, another design problem I hope I solved with the new barrel), water rolls down the side of the barrel and is washing down the foundation. So here you see the start of my amelioration of that problem. Once the barrel is empty and I have time, I'm going to pull out all those rocks and do this right. I'm going to do a base of #4 (all purpose stone), and tamp the ever loving hell out of it. Then I'll use paver sand to create a slope out to the front of the rock pile, install that pan (maybe cutting out the one side for better flow) and then add in the gutter funnel and pipe (not shown here) to take water away from the house). I still want to do something better than the current diverter (I have a plan, next time I'm at home depot I'll see if I can pull it off). Then I'll refill the pan with rock to make it look nice. Then maybe I won't freak every time it rains.

Once I get it all online we'll have about 100 gallons of capacity.

As a bonus for waiting, here's the stone path around our front stairs.You won't find rock like that in a home improvement store. Why? Because I harvested them from my own yard. They're nice, thick slate. They aren't quite settled into their new positions yet, but they will. They're big. Most of the slate I pull out are smaller, or thinner. I've used some questionable ones on the walk on the other side, and then I end up pulling shattered pieces out of the lawn after a while. I've harvested some more slate, but probably not enough to replace the shattered steps. If we get a dry spell I'll try and get some more (may even try to break my own this time).

So there you go. I'll try and get finished photos for you (I still need to put in the rocks around the bottom of the new barrel platform and redo the old one for drainage).

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