There are always awkward corners in a garden, especially one in a suburban or urban yard. Someplace that’s hard to figure out what exactly to put there, how to make it be usable and attractive. This particular corner happens to be in my front yard, smack in the middle of Zone 1, at kind of the intersection between the driveway and front walk, off the corner of the house. There are only a few decrepit gutters on my house and the downspout for one of these gutters is right in this corner. I knew a rain barrel needed to go here, but how to make it pretty?
A few weeks ago, desperate to plant out the last remaining chimayo chile starts, I planted four of them around the little flowering tree on the western corner of the front bed. Which just happens to be right in front of where the rain barrel was supposed to go. There’s also a cigar plant (Cuphea melvillea) that was part of the original landscaping, but it’s not very happy in this location and it’s terribly in the way, so I’ll probably relocate it.
First the rain barrel needed a secure raised platform. This rain barrel will be “powering” a drip irrigation hose for the olive tree/goji berry/loofah polyculture bed. Raising up the rain barrel will help with the water pressure in the gravity-fed hose, I hope. I cleared all the weeds, raked out the mulch, and dumped a few shovels of gravel on top of the bare soil as a base. I brought a load of bricks around in my trusty red wheelbarrow and started laying down bricks.
I tested the level by eye a few times and rearranged bricks until it was fairly level. Then I hoisted the empty rain barrel up on top of the bricks. We tested the seal on the spigot and it stayed dry! Kudos to my husband for cutting up the barrel and adding the spigot for me, he did a great job.
Our first heavy rainstorm was last night and the barrel filled up in 45 minutes! You can see the side of my new arbor next to it, I’ll share photos of that as soon as it’s completed. I still need to move the cigar plant, add a stepping stone, and fasten a sturdy screen to the top of the barrel. I might add some art to the barrel but the plain white looks okay from the street, and I’ll be adding a draping potted plant to the top of the barrel to obscure the edges a bit, too.
I wish I could come up with a way to pipe the water across the walkway, since right now the hose will have to lay across the walkway to reach the bed this barrel will be watering. We’ll work around the configuration a while and see what happens. Nothing is permanent; if it doesn’t work, we can always move it around later! I’m just content that we’ve started.