If you like to garden — even if it’s only a few pots on the back patio — a rain barrel is a great way to help you Do Your Part. Not only will your plants thrive since they actually prefer rain water over city water, you will also save money on your water bill.

A rain barrel takes about 5 minutes to install and you’ll only need a small saw, a screwdriver and some gloves to complete the job.

Locate the downspout where you want to place the barrel and using a hacksaw or other small saw, remove the lower half of the downspout. Attach some flexible tubing — found at any home improvement store — to the downspout and you are ready to go.

Rain barrels come in all shapes and sizes. Make sure the barrel you choose has a secure lid. This will prevent small children from removing the lid and possibly falling in. Some rain barrels have two spouts for water. The lower one can be used for garden or soaker hoses. The upper spigot is high enough to fill your garden watering can.

Rain barrels do more than conserve water. They also prevent storm water run-off. When we get a quick torrential downpour the rainwater flows through the downspout and can wash out mulch or soil in your garden. Use a rain barrel and you’ll catch a quick, free 55 gallons of water to use for another day and prevent storm water run-off.

Do Your Part and install a rain barrel in your garden. You’ll be conserving water and allowing the plants in your garden to thrive.