I’ve always wanted a rain barrel. In fact, back in June,I wrote a post declaring as much and announcing my quest to pick something up that was both eye pleasing and practical. Living in Ithaca, NY, I don’t have many problems with drought — but watching all that water roll off my roof, I figured it was a waste to simply see it hit my lawn and disappear. Besides, why pay that much more for municipal water for my garden when I could capture that which fell from the sky?
I’ll admit that writing about water issues in the southwest U.S. and visiting friends in Arizona also made me curious why water conservation tactics (like rain barrels) weren’t used more. Was it because they’re still relatively unknown? Were they a pain to setup and use? I was curious and therefore wanted one. Thankfully, the folks at Garden Supermart heard my cry and hooked me up with one of their Cascata Rain Barrels. After playing around with it (I use that term loosely) for two weeks, I can sum up my reaction in one sentence: Everyone should have one.
First off, you know things are headed in the right direction when the delivery truck pulls in, unloads the rain barrel, and your wife exclaims, “Oooh, that’s gorgeous.” Now, I must admit that it’s not just her looking for something aesthetically pleasing. I’m also someone who likes objects outside the home to look as natural as possible. The great thing about the Cascata is that even thought it’s made of plastic, it looks almost exactly like a giant terracotta clay urn. Even from a few feet away, it’s fairly hard to discern the difference.
Now obviously, rain barrels don’t have much to offer beyond capturing water. However, the folks behind the Cascata have still managed to equip this product with some useful additions. For instance, not only is there a 6′ hose attachment, but there is also an attractive brass spout. I used this a couple times to fill up a water bucket for my backyard plants. Also — the Cascata has a top that includes rooms for a plant or two — making it easy to add a bit of nature to the design. Rounding out the product is an easy access cover (with screen) and an overflow exit off one end.
In terms of capturing, I couldn’t be more pleased. My timing must have been fortuitous, for the first night I had everything setup, the roof received a nice deluge of rain. The next morning, all 65 gallons of capacity were filled! After only one night of steady rain! Just imagine if those people hard hit by drought took advantage of such a product (Sorry, Colorado — it’s still illegal to capture rain where you live!). Within 24 hours, I was happily watering my garden with rain captured from the previous evening.
In conclusion, I can heartily recommend the Cascata as an aesthetically pleasing and useful rain barrel. You’ll have to take it down during the cold Northeast winters to avoid cracking, but the rest of the year, you’ll enjoy having a clean catchment of rain water for all your gardening needs. Getting excited over rain hitting the roof has truly never been more fun.