For my birthday last year my parents sent me a rain barrel. The barrel was a pretty ugly orange and I always got grief about it from my wife. Not long after we moved into the finished house, I altered the gutter and put the rain barrel into action.
From the first rain fall til today, I’ve never needed to use tap water on the yard plants. The 60 gallons has been sufficient thus far. There was a dry spell where I went thru all of the water and got worried, but soon after we had a light rain and I was back in business.
One alteration I had to make was the exterior color. As I mentioned, my wife didn’t like the orange and neighbors frequently asked what the orange barrel was (I’m painting the gutter too btw).
My next modification is to buy another rain barrel to catch the overflow of this first one and give myself 120 gallons. The River des Peres Watershed Coalition offers rain barrels for $60/each. They’re made from old Pepsi syrup containers and are fitted w/ all the hardware. I just need to submit my order form.
My conclusion thus far is that everyone should have a rain barrel, as this could significantly cut down on using good tap water for outdoor plants/lawns. Even if you don’t like the look of mine, retailers offer better looking ones such as this one at Sam’s Club which looks like a giant Terracota pot.