How to install a water butt

We’ve teamed up with green-fingered gardeners Garantia to guide you on how to install a water butt, with step-by-step instructions and useful tips & tricks on how to collect rainwater for use in your garden!

  • Alex - copywriter
  •  4min read
How to install a water butt

1. Choose the perfect spot

Finding the perfect place for your water butt isn’t just a matter of personal preference; it’s about making sure it can collect rainwater efficiently and is convenient to use!

Close to a downpipe

To make the most of your water butt, it’s a good idea to put it as close to a downpipe as you can. This means the rainwater can flow easily into the water butt so you don’t have to create elaborate trails of pipe on your house!

Easy to access

If it’s like an obstacle course getting to your water butt, you’ll be less likely to use it. Install your water butt in a place which makes it easy for you to connect a hose or fill up a watering can.

Stable, flat surface

Make sure your water butt isn’t at risk of falling over by finding a level surface which will comfortably hold the weight of a full water butt; they’re very heavy when they’re full!

Easy on the eye

Functionality comes first, but you shouldn’t underestimate how your water butt looks. Treating yourself to a decorative water butt is a stylish addition to any garden, and some even have built-in planters for extra outdoor appeal.

2. What you'll need

Fitting a water butt is a straightforward process if you have the right tools. Nip into the toolshed and grab the following items:

  • Drill
  • Drill bit suitable for plastic
  • Spirit level

3. How to install a water butt

  1. Using your drill and plastic drill bit, drill or cut a section of your downpipe
  2. Insert the capturing system supplied with your water butt to redirect water through a smaller pipe
  3. Connect the smaller pipe to the hole on top of your water butt, giving you direct access to nature’s very best rainwater!

Some decorative water butts may require you to drill a hole into the water butt itself as well as the downpipe. If this is the case, use a spirit level to make sure both holes are at the same level for smooth water flow.

There you have it: a properly installed water butt, ready to help you in the garden and save you some dosh in the process!

Maintaining your water butt

Clean it regularly

Like anything outdoors, sediment and algae can accumulate in your water butt over time. Keep yours sparkling by emptying, rinsing, and scrubbing the inside of your water butt at least once a year.

Keep an eye on it

Give your water butt the occasional check-up to look for any signs of wear & tear. Doing so will keep your water butt in good nick and extend its lifespan.

Put a lid on it

Always ensure the lid of your water butt is tightly sealed to keep grime and wildlife out of the tank, maintaining good water quality.

Connecting multiple tanks

If your tank is filling up faster than you can use it (because no one is watering their garden in the rain), connecting another tank can help you make the most of that precious precipitation.

If you’re short on space, you can connect another water butt to your existing one so any overflow is captured, reducing your reliance on tap water. This is a great way to ensure you have plentiful rainwater in the drier months for watering your garden.

What are the benefits of harvesting rainwater?

Watering your garden

Rainwater is a superfood for your plants & soil, and it’s completely free! It’s naturally rich in nutrients without the chemicals found in tap water, maintaining a happy and healthy balance in the soil whilst saving you money on your water bills. It’s a win-win!

Garden water features

Use rainwater harvested from your water butt to fill your garden pond. As it’s free from the chemicals in tap water, your pond will be a naturally healthy habitat for any wildlife that uses it: beneficial bugs, frogs, and toads are natural pest-repellents who will keep pesky pests at bay from eating your plants. You can also use rainwater for your fountains and water features!

For more ideas on inviting wildlife into your garden, you can read our blog right here.

Outdoor cleaning

After a solid day of digging, pruning, raking, and sewing, your garden tools will probably be on the grubby side! Keep your hand tools in good nick by rinsing off with rainwater from the water butt to save you time, money, and any filthy floors from dragging the spade indoors. Rainwater is also a gentle way of rinsing off garden furniture and outdoor toys, so your outdoor space can look spick-and-span all year round!

Water Butt

Are you proud of your water-harvesting setup? Any tips on using rainwater that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you on Facebook, Instagram or X or TikTok.