The downspout ends about a foot above the rain barrel; four feet above the sewage pipe. A short, flexible tube connects the downspout to the top port. A second shorty connects the overflow port to a longer flexible tube for overflow into the city sewage drain, in order to prevent water from backing up into the downspout. The overflow tubes are strapped onto the barrel using plastic twine. A plastic cap covers the sewage pipe.
When winter comes it's easy to disconnect and store the barrel in order to prevent complications with ice and freezing. Until spring returns the gap between the end of the downspout and the sewage pipe will be bridged with a four-foot section of aluminum pipe.
(Disconnecting the barrel seasonally seemed easier than using a forked or split downspout and diverters. Diverters come in many types and complications. Disconnecting and reconnecting the downspout with the changing seasons, rather than installing a permanent diverter, seemed like the best and cheapest option).
Helpful installation tips came from several sources: photos online showed barrels placed on blocks for easier access to the faucets; LIVE Green Lancaster, a project of Lancaster County Conservancy was a good source. Guthrie at Patio at Penn Stone referred me to Mike Musser of Village Green, who said he installs rain barrels for LIVE Green Lancaster. I described the seasonal flexible tubing system to Mike, and he said it sounded good.
The Philadelphia Water Department's web site had useful tips and links. Their site links to Portland, Oregon's department of Environmental Services article, "How to Disconnect Downspouts." Portland has a reputation as a rainy city and receives 37 inches of rain per year. Yet Lancaster's average is about 41 inches per year. That's a lot of free water!
This was a fun project to create. The cost was about $75 complete. Using water run-off responsibly and mindfully is important. The rain barrel will help reduce my water bill as well as the city's water treatment costs. Below are photos of the irrigation hose from the rain barrel into the garden: