These barrels automatically fill with a downspout diverter and slowly drain out over the next day via a soaker hose. This is great because usually by the next rainfall the barrels will be empty.
We set up a couple of rain barrels side by side. They were hidden in dead space between a fence and a privacy fence. We built a 2 foot high platform for them to rest on. This will give better water pressure out the soaker hose we installed.
We used a Fiskars rain diverter. This is a great set up because it automatically fills the barrels until full during a rain. No having to go out and flip a diverter switch! Here is the link to the Fiskars DiverterPro: http://www.fiskars.ca/Products/Yard-and-Garden/Rain-Barrel-Systems/DiverterPro You can buy these at the Home Depot.
We like how it works but getting the hose at the perfect height so the device would get backpressure and sense the barrels were full took many adjustments. So have patience. Another point about this device is that only a small amount of water coming down the pipe gets diverted to the barrels. If you wanted to catch all the water you may want to choose a manual diverter so you can divert 100 percent of the water into the barrels. Using the Fiskars, a short intense downpour may not fill the barrels quick enough for your liking.
Connect the two barrels at the bottom using some simple pipe fittings and hose. They will both fill up at the same time this way.
We used a soaker hose specifically designed for a low pressure application like rain barrels. The green hose shown comes with the barrels and is used to fill buckets etc. The soaker hose was connected to this. This way the soaker hose will receive water if there is any in the barrels. The soaker hose was called Mr Soaker Hose: http://www.rainbarrelsoakerhose.com/index.htm
There is a small filter that comes with the soaker hose. It ensures that no debris will make its way into the soaker hose and plug it up. Make sure this is easily accesible as it has to be washed out frequently.
The downspout extension was fastened to the fence and given a slight slope which deposited the water from the downspout about 50 feet into the backyard due to the slope of the yard. Any closer and the water would run back to the house.
The cedars were perfect for hiding the downspout we attached to the fence.
Here is a video from our YouTube channel. The Fiskars DiverterPro was in the test phase at this point. Once it was sealed with caulking it did not leak like in the video.
A quick video showing the amount of water coming out the extention pipe near the end of the cedars.
We get plenty of rain in Toronto. If you are interested in rain barrels to harvest your rain water, visit our website www.eavestrough.ca