Why Buy a Water Butt? How does it work?

Why buy a water butt?

With the unpredictable English weather it can be hard to know when you are going to need to water the garden. We can go for weeks without so much as a glimmer of sunshine and then suddenly have a two week spell of fantastic weather, glorious sunshine and heat and in some extreme cases, see a ban on using hosepipes. This is one excellent reason to invest in a good water butt, and then you don’t have to feel guilty about the using up the precious water from your tap.

Secondly, with unfortunately growing bills for water and other supplies to the home, choosing to use a water butt over your regular garden tap makes absolute sense and will save you a fortune on water bills!

Plus its a great feeling to know that the water you are using is completely free and environmentally friendly. It would only have fallen from the sky onto your garden any way. 

water falling on a peony


How Does a Water Butt Work?

You don’t need to do anything special to install a water butt. Most, if not all houses will have a drain pipe / down pipe system installed. 

A quick 5 minute DIY job and you can install a diverter to your drainpipe to divert the rain water from the drainpipe to your water butt. 

Water butts fill up quickly and in most cases, when they are full, the surplus water will just divert back to going down the drain pipe. 

You can even buy special accessories to filter, purify and to keep the water stored in your water butt fresh and to make it the very best it can be to water your precious plants.

All water butts will come with a tap, that is usually installed by the buyer via a predrilled hole and sometimes they will have a second tap lower down to drain the bottom of the water but or to attach a length of hose to. Doubling its use a watering can filler and hose pipe tank. 

You can now even buy aesthetically pleasing water butts that blend in with your beautiful garden. They now come in a huge variety of styles, we particularly like the barrel types, the ones that look like a old fashioned barrel of beer. Its even better if you can fit a fake pump tap on top to give it an authentic look.


Water Butt Pumps

You can buy something called a water butt pump, which you place inside your water butt. It pumps water out and into a hose with force. This means you can water the garden more quickly!


How to Choose a Water Butt for your Garden

First think about how much water you are likely to need or want to have in the butt. 

Some large water butts can take up to around 550 litres, obviously they cost more money. The average size of a water butt is around 200 litres. This is more than enough to water the average sized garden multiple times and still have rain water left in the tank.

The second thing to think about is how important is it that water butt blends in to the rest of your garden?

If the answer is not at all, then you could go for the cheaper option of a black or green water butt. These can be obtained for around £25-30. 

If you want the water butt to become a decorative feature of the garden, have a look at some of the more attractive water butts that are now available. 

It is nice to see some thought has been put into the look and style of water butts, a UK garden essential item.

You can water butts that look like barrels, or even stone ornamental vases / pots, there is even a water butt on Amazon UK that looks like a giant bee hive in a terracotta colour finish. 

Next you need to think about where the rainwater will be coming from when the water butt in installed. 

Will you use a down pipe accessory that collects the water going down your main drainpipe from the house roof? 

Or will you be using a shed, conservatory or summer house roof to gather the water. In this case you will need to attaching piping and a drainpipe to collect the roof water if you don’t already have this fitted. 

This is a relatively easy and inexpensive job and there is no reason why you can’t install two water butts in your garden depending on the size and the amount of water needed. 

You could have one near the house for the pots and plants close to the door and one further down the garden, linked to a shed for example to collect even more rainwater and to save you travelling across the garden each time you need to fill up the watering can.

Using a garden water butt is the perfect way to save water, be more environmentally friendly and to save money on household bills.

Water butts are usually made from 100% recycled plastic so you know that you are not harming the environment by buying one. 

The smallest water butt in the review is around 110L, which is still a vast amount of water that is going to save you a lot of money on your water bill! 

Most water butts come with all the necessary fittings but a down pipe connector kit can be ordered from Amazon for less than £10.00.

The stand is also usually included, but again these can be bought, with free delivery from Amazon for around £11.00.


Water butt or tap water?

outside water tap

Collecting rainwater in a tank, barrel or water butt is a great idea for your garden. Not only will it save you money on your water bills but the quality of the water will be more suited to what your garden naturally expects from the rain.

When you use tap water, the regular tap water that we drink and bathe in, it contains chemical and water treatment substances to make it safe for human consumption. It is not necessarily best for your established garden plants. 

Rainwater is naturally soft which your plants will love and your wallet will love it too when you save money throughout the summer months.



Stands for Water Butts

water butt stand


Usually when you buy one of the basic green water butts, everything you need to set it up comes included. This means a stand for the butt to sit on, to raise it from ground level. 

If you have a water butt and no stand, don’t panic. You can simply build one out of slabs or bricks that you may even have lying around the garden. 

We have a stand for our garden water butt which is made up of a square of bricks, with a regular slab sitting on top. This provides a sturdy and very long lasting base that way cheap to build.