I am looking to get a new patio put in my back yard, and my local township laws require use of rain barrels if you have over a certain amount of impervious surfaces on your property.

I have this current setup, with a plastic flexible spout piece that sits on top of the barrel. This works pretty well until heavy rain storms, where the water coming down the spout is just too much for the flexible piece to handle. Eventually, the weight of the water bends the flexible piece to the point where it falls off the aluminum piece, letting all the water fall straight to the ground.


Looking around, there doesn't seem to be any kind of aluminum downspout pieces that "bend" around a corner, most pieces all seem to be straight in some fashion. Moving the rain barrels is difficult because the land isn't quite level on the side of the house where the down spout comes down, and the black barrel is shorter than the tan one (hence why its propped up on bricks). It needs to be slightly higher/level with the tan one in order for the connecting overfill tube to properly drain into the tan barrel once the black one is full.

What can I try to get a more permanent solution that won't fall off during heavy rain storms?

  • 1
    If the patio is on the downspout side, you shall place the barrels under the patio and let the downspout penetrate through the deck to drain directly into the barrel. The unleveled ground shouldn't prevent you to do so.
    – r13
    Commented Jun 26, 2021 at 16:44
  • 1
    @r13 the planned patio isn't on this side of the house. The patio is also going to be concrete, in the ground. So I don't think that's an option for me. The rain barrel law states they must be on the property somewhere. This is really the only spot they'll work on my lot.
    – Timothy G.
    Commented Jun 26, 2021 at 16:46
  • 2
    The easiest way is to move the black barrel closer to the corner and keep the flexible pipe as short as needed to make a steep slope.
    – r13
    Commented Jun 26, 2021 at 17:03
  • 9
    Maybe I'm missing something here, but is the issue that the black flexible pipe keeps falling off? If so, can you use a few sheet metal screws to screw it into the aluminum piece? Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 4:30
  • 2
    @TimothyG. Screws would fix it. It's not coming apart because of the weight of the water sitting in the pipe - it's because of the long drop. The water falls down the white downspout and picks up speed as it does, impacting the corrugated sides of the black pipe and continually hammering it until it pops itself off. If it was fastened with screws that wouldn't happen.
    – J...
    Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 16:58

9 Answers 9


Three downspout elbows. One takes the spout out past the edge of the house, the other connects to it to take it around to the barrels, the last drops it into the barrels.

Rectangular downspout elbows come in two forms - you'll need a couple of one type (bends the narrow way) and one of the other (bends the wide way.)

You also need brackets to attach them to the house so that they don't fall apart with water in them.

You can also do it with round smooth pipe elbows, starting from a rectangle to round adapter at the end of the downspout.

Or you could use a bunch of plumbers strap and screws to properly attach the corrugated thing to the house so it would not fall out. But smooth rigid pipe will flow better and clog less.

  • Looking at aluminum elbows, I'm not really seeing how I can make the turn around the corner of the house. How would I be able to do that?
    – Timothy G.
    Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 1:25
  • 1
    How about two of them. First on the downspout (what a wonderful day to learn a new word!) Taking it around the corner of the house. The second one on the end of the first, but spouting to the side in the direction of the barrel...
    – mishan
    Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 7:16
  • 2
    Not affiliated, not endorsing supplier, but illustrates it well: aquabarrel.com/downspout-elbows-rectangular-c-33_351_330/…
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 11:50
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    I think you need three of them - two of what Ecnerwal's ad calls "style B" and one "style A". Use style B to point the pipe to the left, then style A to point it around the corner, then a second style B to point it downwards. Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 20:47
  • With Ecnerwal's link scroll all the way to the bottom and watch the video. Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 22:09

Try a variation on this? enter image description here

Credit: https://www.instructables.com/DIY-275-Gallon-Rainwater-Collection/

Also credit: Google "downspout elbow around corner"

  • Nice find - the trunking as pictured seems to have the appearance of cabling conduit as used on air conditioner outdoor units. The linked article mentions aluminum too. PVC downpipe might have been a better choice, avoiding the "sock" look. Still - great pic.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 11:03
  • From the top, that's two short turns, into a long turn, into a short turn, then the down spout.
    – Mazura
    Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 21:49
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    Although this can work, good luck trying to get leaves out of that mess without taking it all apart. Also, I've seen setups like this leak, especially as all those screws start to rust. Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 23:04
  • @PcMan commented on wrong answer, sorry for the confusion. Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 15:28
  • This is probably the best answer since the turns are up high where the water velocity is the lowest. Still, attach well to the structure.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 15:51

Move the black barrel!

You already have it on bricks. How much more level do you want than bricks? Place the base on the ground and dig out one side until your spirit level shows the base is level. Then put the black barrel directly under the downspout. This appeals to me because of the wonderful cheapness. You have everything you need already.

Durable turn.

If you are dead set that the barrel stay put, make a more durable turn. It is the energy of the falling water in the turn that pulls the flexible piece off. I would try this.

pvc angle

That angled PVC piece costs about $2. The bottom pipe would be capped. Underneath the cap it is supported by a timber in the ground. The angled pipe is connected to another stretch of PVC that terminates on the barrel. Or use the flexible piece. The falling energy of the water is absorbed and supported by the cap and the timber and it rounds the turn with less force. You might be able to use the unneeded flexible piece for the last stretch to the rainbarrel, or use PVC or gutter pipe.


  • 3
    That plugged Y coupler is going to create stagnant water that could breed mosquitos or other pests unless you use some sort of plug that fills the blocked section to the Y. Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 15:29
  • @DanIsFiddlingByFirelight - good point and I hate to buy a cap. It is bad enough buying that Y coupler. I have a rag I will stuff in there. It will gradually dry out.
    – Willk
    Commented Jun 29, 2021 at 17:13

The big box stores differentiate by calling the elbows “type a” or “type b” or even a “type a-b”

Use a few of the different types to get the corresponding bend you need to go around the house


How about something like a diverter kit?


This way, you install them at a correct height... when your barrels are full, the fill tube fills with water, and the rest of the rain goes out the bottom of the downspout.

I have a 50 gallon one on my chicken coop, which has a 8x14 roof. About 3/4 of an inch of rain is enough to fill it.

  • I actually use to have one of these, but it too kept falling off. It wasn't as good looking as the one you linked to though, perhaps I may try one again.
    – Timothy G.
    Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 8:54
  • My server isn't happy going to that website.
    – Tim
    Commented Jun 29, 2021 at 16:41

Forget the little plastic barrels. Get a digger in and sink a concrete cistern in the ground. Sink it deep enough to be frost proof if that is a thing where you are. Install an electric pump and attach it to a tap on the wall. You will never regret this.

I have one of these and it's 5 cubic metres. Some summers I wish I had 10.

  • 1
    Though likely a better idea, I likely would still need rainbarrels installed since my township requires them.
    – Timothy G.
    Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 15:29
  • 3
    The rain barrel with a nice big hole in the bottom can sit on the opening of the cistern. The town gets its rain barrel and you get a cistern!
    – MTA
    Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 18:47
  • 1
    @TimothyG. What is the purpose of that regulation? If it's to collect water, would they consider an exception if you have a cistern that can hold more water than a barrel? Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 23:06
  • 1
    @RockPaperLz-MaskitorCasket they claim its for water management, because impervious surfaces like a cement patio prevent water from seeping into the earth. Honestly it's a joke of a regulation, but it makes the township $65 since you have to submit a rain barrel application in addition to a permit for the patio work. If your job is over 250sqft, you need to build a rain garden/seepage pit instead on the property. Which I'm sure is much more expensive.
    – Timothy G.
    Commented Jun 27, 2021 at 23:21
  • 2
    I think this is what's known as stormwater detention, although normally those systems capture rainwater flowing over hard surfaces (driveways etc) and allow it to drain away slowly. Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 6:13

As Joshua Dwire mentioned in a comment, most of these flexible gutter lines have one or two spots where you can drive a screw through and anchor them to the metal downspout. That should prevent it from disconnecting.

You replied, saying:

having seen how much the flexible piece bends when filled with water, I wasn't sure if screws would really fix the problem

These flexible downspouts aren't designed to support weight. You can run them horizontally along the ground, but not in mid-air as shown in your picture. I recommend attaching the flexible downspout as high as possible, so that it can stay more-or-less vertical throughout its entire run. Even the rigid metal downspouts try to avoid horizontal runs as much as possible. If you can move the attachment point twice as high as it is currently, the average slope will be twice as steep and you shouldn't have nearly as much bending.

If the horizontal section is unavoidable, try to place it at the top of the rigid downspout instead of the bottom. The water won't have as much downward kinetic energy just below the gutter and shouldn't stress the flexible pipe as much.

You don't show what your gutter/roof looks like here, but another option is simply to seal off the existing downspout and install a new one above the rain barrel. You'd cut a hole where you want the new downspout to go, install a flange like this one, seal around the edges, and then attach the downspout. There's an existing question that covers sealing off the old opening. This solution is a bit more work, but still DIY-able and should give the best-looking results.


You already have a square to round adaptor - going from the existing downpipe to the corrugated , troublesome one. Surely plastic pipe is available where you are, and it's so much easier to get round corners with round plastic pipe. Swan-necks, 135 and 90 degree bends will get you there, and it can all be bracketed to the wall. Being smooth inside will also solve the flow problem.

Moving the barrel closer to the corner of the house will also help - and use less pipe.


As a temporary, and perhaps permanent measure, you can use pipe straps (metal, plastic, nylon) screwed to the wall to support your existing corrugated plastic pipe in a couple of places. Even if you go with the excellent "AB" answer you should still support the pipe so why not start with just supporting what you have, if in fact the only problem you are trying to solve is that it lacks support? You should also screw that firmly to the downspout with three screws.

Nylon and plastic shown:

enter image description here

Or if you really want to overengineer it:

enter image description here

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