The rain barrel how-to and how-not-to-do escaped me yet again today after much hassle with the calculator while standing in Home Depot and fidgeting with my phone to cost-compare with Lowes across the street. It turns out that right now is a great time to buy garden timbers, incidentally, if you have a need for them in an out-of-sight area because most are bowed, but still serviceable. In any event, I initially thought I would build a tower to support each barrel out of lumber, as opposed to cinder blocks, but for 10 barrels it was adding up to be vastly expensive in time and money.
For an isolated barrel, say near a house or shed where space or storage are short, building a tower for a base is an excellent idea and if you're only dealing with one or two at a time, well worth the effort. Digging below the frostline with a post-holer is your only real bother, but it moves fast if you're not on sun-baked clay like we are (and if you have the soil of the damned like here, wetting it and exercising patience will get the job done - just be sure only to work in clothes that you don't mind getting muddy beyond repair!). Still, other methods which presented themselves were pouring a base and dressing it up with landscaping stones or brick -- a method we will be using next to our house for one of the tanks. Ultimately, we decided to create a small raised be of sorts and fill it in with gravel. It makes a pretty enough picture to please most gardeners and since the large contingent of barrels at our place will go back behind our chicken coop, where we already had a layer of gravel weighing down the predator-proofing wire, some of the work was already started. Today I extended the garden-timber retaining wall around to hold the bed of stone. Unfortunately, no pictures as of yet, because the sun was setting by the time that I finished screwing the lumber into place thanks to some issues with locating stone.