How often do you use the rain barrel?
All the time! We water all the plants at the bottom of our yard with the collected water. Even use it to fill the bird bath and keep the compost bin moist.
Once the weather started getting cold, we opened up the spout completely and let it drain out. We kept it outside (spout open) through the season. Since water couldn't collect, we didn't have any freeze thaw issues.
What happens when it gets full?
I haven't actually witnessed this, but during the Spring it was always full. Usually water comes up through the hole up top and flows out over the rocks. There are small holes on the side of the top that allow that water on top to drain off the sides (so there's never any standing water).
We're in a drought right now, so yes. A couple times this summer it's run dry, but we weren't surprised. After the first large rainfall it was full again and we were good to go!
Any plans to make a run-off barrel?
This is a secondary barrel that catches water once the primary one is full. Right now, we don't have need for an additional barrel. The demand just isn't there. Maybe after we build the second veggie garden box.
What do your neighbors think?
They love it! One of them made one a couple months ago and the other has been talking about getting one started as well. :)
Is there any maintenance involved?
Nope! This system is completely self-sustaining. We have touched up the caulking on the spigot, but that's because we had to attach it without having access to the inside of the barrel.