It’s fun to engage in a little bit of meteorology at home. We’re not talking about actual meteors; we’re talking about the weather! Part of successful gardening knows how much rain you’ve received, and the most accurate way to do this is with your own rain gauge.

You’ll find that having this simple measurement capability will provide more than one benefit. It encourages us to interact directly with the environment, provides the best accuracy, and helps us monitor the needs of our garden more closely.

Make Your Own Rain Gauge 1


  • One 2-liter plastic bottle, clean and empty
  • Scissors that can cut plastic easily
  • Sticky tape
  • Ruler
  • Permanent Marker, Paper

How to Make It

  1. Take your clean plastic bottle with the cap removed and cut all around it about two-thirds of the way up. You’ll want the edges to be as straight as possible – avoid any jagged spots.
  2. Assembly: Turn the top part of the bottle upside down. You’re going to place it inside the lower half to make a funnel. (This is why you’ve removed the cap.) Now, drop the top part of the bottle into the lower part. Using the sticky tape, fasten the two pieces together securely. Remember, your rain gauge will be outside in the weather!
  3. Using your ruler, make a measuring scale on a slim strip of paper. Mark off the inches or centimeters with the permanent marker, seal the piece of paper with your transparent tape and stick it to the side of your gauge.
  4. Locate a good spot for your new gauge outside. For accurate results, it needs to be in an open area that’s away from trees.
  5. Dig a hole to bury your gauge. Make the hole just deep enough to leave about 2 inches or 5 centimeters poking above the ground. Doing this will ensure that it won’t blow over in the wind. It’s hard to know how much rain fell in that last storm when you can’t find your gauge!
  6. Try to check your rain gauge at around the same time every day. You’ll be able to see how much rain collected by using the ruler on the side of the gauge. Take note of your measurement, and empty the bottle before you place it back in the ground. A great place to jot down your rain data is on a calendar.
Make Your Own Rain Gauge 2

It’s always interesting to see how the rain that fell in your garden compares to the amount that was predicted on the weather forecast, as well as what was reported for other locations near yours. You’ll also be able to see how specific amounts of rainfall affect your plants and use the information to do a better job of keeping their watering needs covered.

A rain gauge is a great tool for connecting with nature and aiding your gardening success!

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