Current Project: Rain Barrel Stands

I still owe a few more posts about the winning cat structures from the last project, but I thought I’d give a little update on the current project I’m working on. (Which is only a fraction of the reason I haven’t updated lately).

Rain Barrel Stands

On the afternoon of March 10th, the Savannah Gardens community will come together for one of their first community events in the newly updated development. They will be working together to construct 19 rain barrel stands for the new single-family homes to be completed starting in March. These homes will be equipped with new rain barrels from the City of Savannah and these rain barrels will provide a free source of water for watering their lawns and gardens.

The stands are being constructed primarily of heart-pine wood and brick that were reclaimed from the previous Savannah Gardens’ houses, helping keep a bit of the history with the new and existing residents. The simple structure will help lift the barrel up from the ground to allow gravity to feed the water through the hose.

While there are simpler methods for creating a base for the rain barrels, this project is about more than that. Having the community construct these stands creates an opportunity for each individual to realize the possible strength of their neighborhood, a chance to meet others through a structured event, the opportunity to learn a new skill, and the confidence to know they helped create something of value.

The key players in completing this project are the City of Savannah Housing Authority, Emergent Structures, and the Savannah Gardens Community Group. Groups that will also be involved include: Construction Apprentice Program students, Savannah High School special education class, and the surrounding neighborhood associations.


The design process for the stands starting with an understanding of what materials were available, the size and weight of the rain barrel, and the nature in which construction would take place.

While the main objective of this project is to have the community at Savannah Gardens construct the stands, there is a lot of work required to get to that point. First the design had to be simple enough that special tools, skills, or processes weren’t required, all the cutting of materials needed to be done beforehand to eliminate additional risks on the day of the event, and the entire construction needed to be of a timely manor so we don’t take up an entire Saturday afternoon. By keeping these requirements in mind, the design you see below is what developed, after an initial trial and error construction.

The construction materials are all reclaimed and a vast majority has been harvested from the previous Savannah Gardens’ houses. The hardware is new, as well as the stain that will be applied to protect them from weather and insects.

All the materials were gathered together by Scott Boylston and myself, and then cut down to size with the help of Andrew Carleton. That’s about 250 pieces of wood! They are ready to be hauled to the event site for construction.

After showing the design to the contractors that are completing the houses, there was one more change. Instead of using bricks for the footing support they preferred an aluminum plinth to hold the wood up off the concrete pad they are including in the installation. While this is new material and an additional cost, it should prolong the life of the stand and therefore prolong the use of the rain barrel.

On the day of the event, the materials will be divided into separate stations to create an assembly line of construction. People are invited to chose a station or start at the beginning and follow the process all the way through. This way everyone gets the chance to help exactly how they want. Our friends at Thrive Café will also provide light refreshments to keep everyone energized and refreshed.

Interested in helping with the construction?

Leave me a comment or send me a message.

The more the merrier!

Also blogged here and here.

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