Condo Blues: Decorative Terra Cotta Rain Barrels

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Decorative Terra Cotta Rain Barrels

I’ve been looking at rain barrels on and off for awhile.

There's a corner of the house where the soil is eroding from under one of our downspouts and at the next door neighbor’s house. We’ve been going round and round with the property manager of our Homeowner Association (HOA) on whose responsibility it is to fix the problem.

Legally the HOA is responsible because it involves compacted soil blocking the French drain buried in the soil between the two homes. However, it’s easier for our property manager to only quote half of any HOA rule that supports her position and say no. Because if she approves the change, she has to take 10 minutes out of her day to fill out a form and mail it to us and schedule someone to come out and make the repair. Grrrrr!

That’s the bad part about condo living. When I’m in these situations, I try to remind myself how my HOA plows our neighborhood streets when it snows because the city of Columbus doesn’t plow residential streets after snow storms. *sigh*

A rain barrel would be one way we can stop the soil from eroding from the underneath the downspout that doesn’t evolve us renting a backhoe and tearing up the yard or taking our fight up the food chain of the HOA and lots of drama.

Husband also likes that if we use a rain barrel to collect rain water from that wonky downspout we can use that free water from the sky to water our plants and lawn or to wash our cars.

That is, if I actually had plants in our front yard to water. Landscaping is on the this year’s DIY list. Pinky swear and everything!

According to Healthy landscapes
• “ Rain barrels conserve water and help lower costs (a rain barrel can save approximately 1,300 gallons of water during peak summer months).
• Rain barrels reduce water pollution by reducing storm water runoff, which can contain pollutants like sediment, oil, grease, bacteria and nutrients.”
Good reasons all the way around to consider getting a rain barrel.

If we go the rain barrel route, I think we’ll have a better chance of it getting approved by our HOA if we find something that’s a little more decorative. Husband and I saw this mosaic terra cotta rain barrel made from what looks like a piece of pipe at the home and garden show.


Nice. Different. And might survive being whacked with a lawn mower. The HOA lawn mowing crew is less than careful when they mow our lawns in the summer. Remember the private snow plow. Remember the private snow plow. Remember the private snow plow…*sigh*

What do you think? Rain barrels – love ‘em or hate ‘em? Decorative or functional? Discuss.

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Rachel (Hounds in the Kitchen) said...

Rain barrels are wonderful! My neighbor was having the same sort of water issues you describe and she installed a rain barrel and the water problem disappeared!

However, my experience with rain barrels leads me to think that terra cotta is a poor choice. Freezing and thawing over the winter is likely to make it crack and terra cotta is fairly likely to shatter if there's an impact in any season.

I think these new Rain Station barrels are attractive and very well designed: The Rain brothers who run the store I linked to are a local business I have purchased from and have complete confidence in. They may even have suggestions for arguments to make with the HOA that will allow a rain barrel. Good luck!

Robj98168 said...

I got two rain barrels and plan for 3 or 4 more. Our City sells them once a year at a reduced price so it is somewhat affordable. I figure at $20 a rain barrell , it is easily paid for in one season. I like the look of that terra-cotta one.

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

There is no way they could think that is anything but fabulous.
I'll be back to check on those flowers~ pinky swear!

Susanna a.k.a. Cheap Like Me said...

Want a rain barrel ... haven't done it yet ... I think they're technically illegal in my city, but I'm not sure they are doing aerial patrols of back yards yet.

The Charm of Home said...

It has been 2 very wet years where we live. I hope that solution works. It sure is cute.
Win Rachael Ray bake ware at my blog.

Nonnahs said...

A landscaper once told me that (esp) in areas where it doesn't rain often, there is a little bit of a trick to rain barrel maintenance-- Keep it covered until the rain has been pouring for a good 5 minutes. That will wash off the nastiness from the roof. Run out into the rain and remove the cover. Now you are getting cleaner water for re-use.
Otherwise, the container fills up with dirty runoff.

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