“ Brand: Sankey / Type: Rain Butt „
I Bought several Sankey water butts just before 'Declared Drought of 2012', because Sankey products supposedly had a good reputation. I purchased 3 x 200 litre butts for allotment this year and 1 slimline butt with stand for our small garden. All 3 x 200 litre butts failed within weeks and were replaced three times. Finally gave up and bought Ward manufacture 200 litre butts (had bought 2 'Ward' make ones 2 years ago, no problem). Slightly more expensive, but a lot more durable. It would appear that the Sankey butts are designed to be Eco friendly, but they decompose a little too quickly perhaps. Slimline butt lasted nearly 4 months, but split underneath today, it's going back tomorrow for a refund. Tip of the week: If you buy a Sankey butt, keep your receipt! I telephoned Sankey customer services who told me that the large 200 litre butts are prone to transit damage, personally I think they are too thin material, probably re-cycled old milk bottles. These butts were filled after the cold weather, so no idea how they would cope with freezing water inside them during a cold snap!
At the moment the plants are drinking the water as fast as we can give it to them, all of the vegetables at the allotment are well taken care of and we have managed to beg some larger plastic drums to catch any fresh rainwater.
Naturally we don't want to waste good water and the plants love fresh rainwater, our one tidy water butt which was bought at a household auction developed a small split so it was time to rethink if we were going to continue to collect that precious rainwater at home.
No matter what we always have to do a price check, so we paid a visit to our local B &Q and then hopped off to the garden centres.
Sankey have produced a good slimline water butt with 100 litre capacity. It has a strong plastic lid and at the bottom it has a good sized twist flow tap.
Both of us are used to the more traditional shaped water butt which does take up quite a considerable amount of space so we were quite taken with this new slimline version and it was on offer at just £17.99 too.
Sankey`s have produced the water butt in a strong green frost-proof plastic and because it is taller rather than wider it will fit into any corner of the garden with ease.
As we were looking at the equipment we noticed that you could buy a stand for the water butt, the stand looks like a plastic step stool and you need to make sure that you buy the slimline stand that matches the slimline water butt.
This raises the water butt and makes it easy to access the tap. The slimline stand is priced at £9.99.
We also needed a new rainwater diverter, this is a pipe that can be attached to your downpipe and it redirects the rainwater straight from the downpipe into the water butt. Plus if the butt gets full it then has an overflow system in place. The Sankey rainwater diverter is easy to fit to the downpipe and it still allows plenty of water to go down into the drain to keep it clean and clear.
The rainwater diverter cost us £13.
All in all we had spent a total of £41 for our new equipment but all being well that will last us for years to come.
It was quite interesting because when we got home I looked on the Internet to see how the prices compared to what we paid, if we had been prepared to wait and order the kit from Dobbies Garden suppliers then we would have paid just under £40 including P.P.
Not a great saving but very handy if you only have a small car and the water butt wouldn't fit into it .
Watering our gardens can use a massive amount of precious water so the more that we can conserve the better.
It is tempting to think that water butts look ugly in a very pretty garden but Sankey cater for everyone, they make traditional water butts and contemporary water butts in all different shapes colours and sizes.
The Sankey slimline water butt is up and running now and we thought that it was a good and a wise buy.
When we moved home three years ago, we left a bijou terraced home which had been lovingly cared for, to an empty shell of a house. The upside was the new house was bigger, but the downside was the condition of the property. After a long period of it being rented out, the tenants upped and left leaving unpaid bills and a dirty, stinky house behind them. The house is only around twenty years old, yet we could only marvel at the horrendous state it had fallen into.
The garden was even more neglected. It's only pocket-sized, but it consisted entirely of weeds some of which were up to my shoulders, and a bodged concrete patio which was cracked and unsightly.
The garden, being of lesser importance, was left to me to tidy up. Once all the major jobs like new fencing and patio laying had been done, I was faced with a blank canvas.
One of the first items I decided to buy, before any new plants, was a water butt, for two particular reasons.
~ Going green ~
The first was that like most people, I'm a keen recycler of any household matter that can possibly be recycled. I assiduously putting everything in the correct boxes for the councils doorstep collections. And we all know that taking small steps like using energy saving light bulbs and switching off appliances when they're not in use help environmentally too.
With this in mind, it seemed like a natural progression for us to buy a water butt as soon as we could. As any gardener knows, most new plants need watering regularly until they're established, which can take up to a year. This is so the roots have time to develop and spread and find water from a wider area than when it's first planted. Tap water is perfectly acceptable, but this comes with all manner of chemicals which have been added, by the time it reaches you. Far more preferable is plain old rainwater.
~ Economical sense ~
The second reason was that our house has a water meter fitted. This means that our water usage (and sewerage) is measured in much the same way as electricity and gas, and we pay accordingly. Therefore, the more water a household uses, the more money it costs. While this isn't really detrimental to us, with there being just two of us, the larger your household the more water you will naturally use. With this in mind, we wanted to make our water usage as economical as possible.
Practically speaking, there are only so many ways I can economise in my water usage. Aside from obvious ones like only using the washing machine for full loads, and taking showers instead of baths, here's a few others to ponder:
If it's brown flush it down, if it's yellow let it mellow.
Share a bath!
One I can heartily recommend, the other might leave your bathroom smelling rank!
Sensing a challenge to save money, I was only too happy to buy a Sankey Water Butt. Richard Sankey and Son Limited, to give them their full name, have been around for over 150 years making gardening products from flower pots to compost bins. Their wares can probably be found in most Garden centres, but when we were looking for a water butt in 2006, we could only find a few suppliers online.
Sankey had one of the easiest websites to navigate, and also a fairly good range at the time if I remember rightly. We just wanted a basic one which wouldn't take up too much space, having such a small garden, and was relatively cheap. This water butt is the one we chose.
It cost £44.92 which included delivery. This might sound expensive, but now that they are more widely stocked, prices have fallen and similar ones can cost from around £30.
Included in the price was the water butt and matching green lid, a little black plastic tap for pouring out the water and a diverter kit for linking it to our down pipe.
That is the only downside - you may want one but you need to have a down pipe from the roof gutter situated in your garden. Our house is an end of terrace, but a staggered terrace, which means we have our own separate gutters front and rear, and our neighbours next door share their gutters (and down pipe) with the two other houses in the row. A water butt therefore, isn't feasible for anyone mid terraced or in a flat.
A two sided instruction leaflet came inside it, explaining how to connect the water butt to the down pipe using the diverter kit. The instructions were easy enough to understand, but I don't think my husband would have attempted it without them, the kit just looks more complicated than it actually is.
If you were to contemplate buying a water butt, bear in mind that it involves cutting a section of the down pipe away. You should consider buying more brackets for the down pipe first as it will undoubtedly weaken it. Ours wobbled a little near the diverter when we touched it, so my husband went down to our local hardware shop later that week to buy a new bracket. Once that was fixed to the wall, about a foot above the diverter, it became considerably stronger and doesn't wobble. Also you need to have a sharp bladed saw to hand. Then just keep your fingers crossed for some rain.
~ Is it worth it? ~
I thought it would take ages for the butt to fill up, bearing in mind it holds 100 litres, but no. I was amazed by the amount of rainwater that it collects just from a small shower.
Only in high summer, when it hasn't rained for weeks do I need to use tap water to water the garden. It's impossible to estimate how much if any money we've saved from not having to use tap water so often in the garden. Our water bills are too complicated to work out. Having said that, a lot of our garden plants now are more established and so don't need as much watering anyway. We only have around a dozen tubs and flower pots and no hanging baskets which should be watered daily, so our garden isn't really high maintenance now anyway.
So yes, I would say to any keen gardener that a water butt is as important a feature in a garden as compost or fertiliser.
There is only one problem I've encountered and that's with some noisy neighbours. They had a habit of waking us up at dawn every morning for a few months. These were two starlings that took to nesting in our gutter this spring. Right next to the down pipe concerned. Our cat certainly wasn't happy with the intrusion. All I can say is that the nest must have been solidly built. Once the chicks had safely fledged, we realised the down pipe was blocked as the rainwater wasn't being diverted into the butt, but bursting through the sawn joint instead. How to solve this problem? With the help of the instruction sheet we managed to remove the diverter kit from the drainpipe. When we did, we found it was packed solid with the washed away sludge of the nest. Never mind though, we cleaned out the diverter and put it all back together again without any problems. A few days later, we had a short rain shower, and the next morning when I looked, the water butt was two thirds full again!
~ In conclusion ~
In the last few years they've become hugely popular in all our local Garden centres and they come in all shapes and sizes. If you think the plain green ones like mine are too unsightly for your garden, there are some which are more pleasing to the eye. If it's a focal point you want, what about one that looks like a roman column or even a bee hive? These might work better in a more traditional setting than my garden, but there seem to be new designs coming out every time I look. Don't be fooled into thinking that they have to be an eyesore. If you look at the choices on the internet, you might be pleasantly surprised at the range.
One thing we didn't purchase at the time was a matching stand for it to sit on. This is to raise the water butt off the ground to allow easy access to the tap and room for a watering can underneath. We chose instead to use some spare large bricks we had. The light grey colour we thought would look less unsightly and also more be stable than a plastic stand.
I wouldn't attempt to fit this to a cast iron downpipe- plastic only I'm afraid!
Holding, as it does, so much water, of course poses a potential danger to those with young children, or even pets such as cats. While the lid fits securely, and I have to jiggle it a little to get it to lift off, appropriate care needs to be taken if small children are likely to be in the vicinity. Neither my cat or dog take any notice of it, but my neighbours cat has taken a liking to sunbathing on top of it now that we have the nicer weather. I'm sure he does it just to annoy me, nevertheless I mention this because he is the largest tabby cat I have ever seen. A sumo amongst cats. (If only I could take a sneaky picture and upload it here you would surely be amazed too). My point being that if the lid can happily withstand his weight then I'm sure it's okay for daintier animals too. Naturally though, I wouldn't ever leave the lid off.
The lid serves another purpose too, in that it keeps the water fresh as it isn't exposed to sunlight. I certainly haven't ever noticed any algae growing in ours. We take the opportunity, once it's empty after a long dry spell, to clean the butt out by hand. This removes the sediment which gets washed down from the gutter and builds up on the bottom of the barrel. We do this every six months or so, and this is all it needs to keep it clean.
And so to my last point. That is that where we live, all the houses were built with parking spaces at the front made of block paving. This is great for hassle free parking of an evening, but we find in our immediate vicinity that any heavy rainfalls leave all the sewers blocked as well as some of the roads flooding. It follows that the more people are inclined to pave or use decking in their gardens, the less the rain can naturally soak into the earth. It has to go somewhere, usually into an antiquated sewerage system. At least I know that my small water butt stops 100 litres of that same water from adding to a growing problem. The changes in the climate that we're facing in the UK mean that rivers are flooding ever more frequently. Couple that with the fact that most new build houses have paved over front gardens for parking as I've mentioned, and yet it's compulsory for all new build homes in England now to have water meters installed as standard.* This, over time, means an ever increasing pressure being placed on our outdated sewerage system, together with having to pay for every last drop of water we use. Still, looking on the bright side, when they announce the inevitable hosepipe ban this summer I shall be laughing all the way to my water butt. Well, for a couple of weeks anyway. Now if only I can talk some of my neighbours into investing in one too.
*Not sure about Wales or Scotland.
These Waterbutts are perfect for collecting and storing rainwater. Being of compact design these space saving Water Butts are ideal for smaller gardens or minimal spaces. Furthermore the square shape allows the Water Butt to be positioned against a wall. Complete with lid and twist-flow tap