Did you know rain barrels have community as well as household benefits? Beyond contributing to your beautiful flowers and plants, here are the top 10 benefits of using a rain barrel as part of your eco-friendly gardening:

1. Rainwater is better for your plants and soil. Rainwater is highly oxygenated, free of the salts, inorganic ions, and fluoride compounds contained in tap water that accumulate in the soil over time and potentially harm plant roots. Use of rainwater in your garden dilutes this impact, making plants more drought-tolerant, healthy, and strong.

2. You’ll have your own water source in times of drought or watering restrictions. If you collect rainwater, you’ll be able to keep watering and nourishing your garden with your rain barrel reserves.

3. You’ll help to reduce runoff pollution. When it rains, runoff picks up soil, fertilizer, oil, pesticides and other contaminants and pushes them into other areas of the landscape. These pollutants can increase algae growth in lakes, alter the habitat for fish, and even make lakes and oceans dangerous for recreational activities. Your water collecting stops some of this damaging flow.

4. You’ll contribute to erosion prevention efforts. Rain runoff is also a particular issue in places where land erosion is a concern. Your rain catch will be especially helpful in these cases.

5. You’ll cut down on the amount of water that must undergo expensive and energy-intensive sewage treatments. Capturing rainwater and putting it straight to use in your garden eliminates the need for this processing cycle.

6. You’ll have a fresh, green way to wash your cars and pets. Rainwater doesn’t have the salt and other chemicals found in tap water.

7. Rainwater is the eco-friendly option to keep composts moist. Adding tap water to your compost doesn’t fit this sustainability practice; you’ll want to use rainwater instead.

8. You’ll help control moisture levels around the foundations of your home. Collecting rainwater before it hits ground levels will help to prevent flooding, damp, and mold.

9. You can reduce your water bill. Garden and lawn watering accounts for 40 percent of residential water use during the summer, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Thanks to a rain barrel’s water catch, the typical gardener can save 1,300 gallons of water during the growing season.

10. You’ll be an inspiring example of environmental stewardship. And we thank you for it!