Creating a stunning water butt planter with height and depth.

Rainwater Terrace water butt top planter planted with bulbs and moss
Rainwater Terrace water butts come with a top planter tray which is suitable for a range of plants however if you are wanting to plant larger plants on the top of your water butt this blog may be useful.
We start by fitting the capillary mats into the top planter then find a large black plant pot we went for one that was approx 20cm diameter, dont worry about the height as this can be trimmed down to suit the height of your plant. You may be able to reuse the plant pot that the plant you are wishing to use came in.
Large black plant pot
We then carefully trimmed the base off the plant pot using a small saw, scissors can then used to trim it down in height.
Plant pot with base trimmed off
The pot is then placed towards the back edge of the Rainwater Terrace top planter tray.
black plant pot with bottom cut off
The pot is then back filled with compost, its important that the cut edge of the pot is at the top as shown.
Large ornamental grass in water butt planter
We added a large ornamental grass, we love the colour and texture of the grass as it overhangs the planter. We then filled around the planter with a layer of soil before adding more plants. We try to keep the largest plants at the back and smaller plants at the front of the planter. Ivy is always a good choice as it trails over the water butt.
Rainwater top planter planting ideas with ornamental grass and ivy
As we add plants we try build the compost up around the upturned plant pot in the middle. As the plants grow the roots hold the compost in place.
For our Spring themed planter we have chosen to plant ready to plant bulbs purchased at the garden centre along with moss which has been used to fill around the bulbs. The moss will also double up as an excellent nesting material should birds choose to come and take some as nesting season begins.
bulbs covered in moss in a water butt Spring planter
The bulbs we planted are Scilla Siberica Blauw, Crocus Biflorus Miss Vain, Ipheon Alberto Castilo, Narcissi Thalia, Muscari Blue Magic, Cinodoxa Rosea and Crocus Tricolor,
Two weeks after planting we are seeing some colour as the buds open. This is a really easy way to create a dramatic looking floral display that will look great throughout the sunny but cooler Spring months.
Spring planter for a water butt

Planting an Autumn water butt

As the weather gets colder we planted a selection of plants that will look great through Autumn and into water butt installed on a paving slab with a rainwater diverter connected to a black downpipe

We find it helpful to take a water butt planter along to the garden centre to help judge how may plants we will need. Selection of plants in a trolley at a garden centre. plants include heuchera and ornamental grass

Once we have all our plants we lay them out and then place them into the water butt planters in their pots to get a layout we are happy with before we start planting the new plants into the the water butt planters.

plants and compost laid out with a trowel compost and gardening gloves

plant labels and tags from everything we are going to plant

This is what we have chosen to plant:-

  • HeucheraPalace Purple
  • Uncinia  Rubra
  • Pansy  Premier F1
  • Carex – Comans Brinze
  • Lavender  Vera
  • Cerastium – Tomentosum
  • Santolina – Lemon Fizz
  • Carex – Flagellifera
  • Carex – Comans Green
  • Ivy Hedera Genus

festive black planters on a water butt

Once we are happy with how the planting display looks all the plants are carefully planted in the clip on planters with a multi-purpose compost. Dont forget to put the capillary mats provided into the planters green/grey side up before adding the compost.

black water butt with festive planters at the front of a red brick house

The finished result, a water butt that looks fantastic where ever you choose to put it. This example is placed at the front of a property.

The perfect gift for a garden lover this Christmas.

A Rainwater Terrace water butt could be the perfect gift for the green fingered garden lover in your family from grandparents to dads this could be the Christmas gift for them.. Our water butts come in a huge range of sizes to suit what ever space you have available from 1 tier  67 litre capacity to 3 tier 200 litre water storage capacity.

black water butt attached to down pipe at the front of a red brick house

All our water butts come with a set of clip on self watering planters which can be planted with trailing plants and flowers, grasses, herbs, salad vegetables bulbs and many more. 

Our Rainwater Terraces are much more than a "decorative" gardening addition they harvest and store rainwater direct from a downpipe connected to a roof/gutter which means as long as there has been some rain you will have a constantly renewed supply of free rainwater to use on your garden or house plants.

Not only does the Rainwater Terrace water butt function like no other water butt on the market with its patented through flow system keeping the rainwater fresh it looks great, so great that it can go at the front your house and look fantastic.

black water butt attached to down pipe in front of red brick house


How to help with water logging in planters during wetter months

When using Rainwater Terrace planters there a few things that can be done during the wetter months to help stop the planters becoming too wet or water logged.

First open up the holes in the bottom of the side planters with a sharp instrument such as a screwdriver.

Then put a layer of horticultural grit on top of the capillary mats.

Add more horticultural grit to the compost.

Adding vermiculite might also help to retain some moisture.


pierce planter drainage holes with a screwdriver

add horticultural grit to the bottom of the planter

mix horticultural grit and vermiculite into the compost to help with water logging.


Preparing a site to install a water butt.

To Install a water butt we recommend that each water butt is installed on a solid level base an example of this is a 60cm x 60cm paving slab.
gravel to lay a paving slab stone in for a water butt
 For this site the gravel was not suitable ground to place a water butt on so we dug down to the hardcore, levelled it off and removed any sharp stones.
level paving slab laid for a water butt stand
The paving slab has been adjusted until it is level on the solid hardcore underneath then backfilled with the gravel to the edges.
60cm x 60cm paving slab base with for a water butt to stand on
The finished site is now ready for the water butt to be installed. The base is a 60cm x 60cm paving stone which is the perfect size for the Rainwater Terrace water butt stand.
We state that a solid level base is important for all our water butts as when full of water soil and plants a 3 tier 200 litre water butt can weigh 250kg 1/4 tonne.
The instructions on how to install the water butt and prepare the site are available here Water Butt Instruction Manuals - Rainwater Terrace® (

Rainwater Terrace at the RHS Garden Harlow Carr Summer Garden Show

Why not come see us at the RHS Garden Harlow Carr Summer Garden Show 24th- 27th June 2021.


We will be there all all weekend with our fantastic water butts up and running in a real life situation. You can see how just how easy they are to set up as well as the key features that make them very different to the average water butt.


Water butt at the RHS Harlow Carr Summer Garden Show

Our small friendly team will be there happy to answer any questions you may have.

Bypass diverter

The Problem

Downpipe often directed straight into a normal water butt. When the water butt is full the water butt will overflow water coming down the downpipe.

water butt by pass diverter for cut off downpipe

The Solution

This is a special Bypass Diverter for Rainwater Terrace that solves this problems.

Our special diverter feeds the rainwater into the top of the Rainwater Terrace as usual (pipe A) but we’ve added pipe (B) that takes any excess down to our outlet pipe (C).

This outlet pipe performs its usual function of stopping the stored water from stagnating.

The outlet can either be directed into a drain or taken elsewhere in the garden. We can supply whatever lengths of pipe you need to suit your situation. We also include a connector so that you can fit it to a hosepipe size pipe if that is more convenient. (Handy if you are connecting to a soaker hose)

This bypass kit for downpipes can be found here Bypass Kit

water butt bypass diverter setup

We kindly received some customer images of the before and after set up after they contacted us to discuss a new set up with a Rainwater Terrace water butt which would be fitted to a downpipe that had previously had a water butt fitted.

water butt before and after using a rainwater terrace

The images show the water butts fitted to both the front and back of the property using the existing downpipes that previously went directly into the top of a barrel style water butt.

water butt fitted to sawn off down pipe

 Our custom diverter that fits 65mm square and 68mm round downpipe is only available from It is designed to accommodate downpipes that have been cut off to previously fit into the top of a water butt.

bypass diverter for water butt with short or cut off downpipe