bottom-filling a rain bench

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bottom-filling a rain bench

Most of us would not try to fill a glass of water, or any container for that matter, by forcing it in the bottom.

Why, then, do we insist that your rain bench be bottom-filled?  Hopefully  this post will explain that…

Numero Uno:  Most important is the concept of pressure release.  Yes, I learned this the hard way.

Picture a ridiculously heavy downpour.  Water is flowing in so fast from your downspout diverter to your bench that air cannot flow back up the line. 

In my case, I was testing it and when I shut off the hose —  **Ppfwoooooshh** — air and water shot out the top of the rain diverter like Old Faithful – or my favorite, the Lone Star geyser…

So, other than that, why else fill from the bottom?

Well, a number of reasons, but first you may be saying,”that’ll never work– it’ll just back up and overflow.”  true…

…it’ll overflow either your upper rain bench fitting or your downspout diverter, whichever is lower.  I won’t get too involved, but check out NASA’s explanation of Pascal’s Law to learn more.

so how about those ‘number of reasons?

  1. place your rain bench or water tank anywhere and bury the line, now you don’t have to put it right at your downspout
  2. every time it rains, fresh water is added and old water flushed out.  {vs. filling up a barrel and then not being able to add at all, because the top inlet is blocked.}
  3. connect multiple benches together and fill all at once, increasing your capacity to unlimited — just set all overflow fittings at the same height
  4. you have a pressurized line anywhere from your downspout to your bench.   run a soaker, install a hose bib or add a water level indicator
By |2016-12-12T06:29:47+00:00January 13th, 2011|how-to, raindom|3 Comments

About the Author:

Scott is a landscape designer who's philosophy has always centered around living closer to nature. Since 2000, his designs have reflected this and increasingly he has become obsessed with designing creative ways to save water in landscapes. As a designer, the focus of enhancing both form and function have led to this inevitable conclusion: something has to be done to make water conservation more attractive. That something, he believes, is integrating its storage into every possible landscape element, and that is what he is doing at Second Rain.


  1. Julie April 9, 2015 at 4:40 pm - Reply

    I love your benches! Want one. Question…my goal is to be able to fill the bladder/storage container from the top. I’ll be pouring buckets of water into it. We go through 15+ gallons of water a day just to warm up the shower. Is this possible with your bench idea?

    Do you ever sell the entire bench kit, lumber included? For someone like me who will have to hire out to have this done, I’d love to buy the finished product or at least one that only requires basic tools to assemble. I wouldn’t blink at spending $250 if it was that easy.

    Many thanks & congrats on such a fabulous idea.

    • Scott Gear April 9, 2015 at 11:18 pm - Reply

      Hi Julie, Yes, you can add a fill tube so you could do this. Also, see the last blog post about retrofitting the cap so that any water that falls on the surface of the bench will get funneled inside ( – you wouldn’t have to do all of that, just add the 2″ elbow on the top fitting, pointing up. Voila! I will add the ready-to-assemble kits back on the store soon as I have had a few more requests for this. The cost is more with shipping, but yes, sometimes it is nice to just put it together!

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