There are several simple mechanisms for using containers in your backyard to collect rainwater for gardening applications. See the links below for some tips and instructions.
Yes and no. The primary question is do you want to drink the water you collect, or just use for irrigation purposes. If its the latter, setting up a rain catchment system is as simple as putting a barrel in place where the rain gutter can flow into it. You can than siphon the water out into the garden or into other storage containers. However, if you are wanting to drink the rain water, you have to have a more in depth understanding of the rainwater quality in your area as well as the roofing, and gutter materials, already in place. You can read more here about setting up system to catch drinking water (http://www.rain-barrel.net/drinking-rainwater.html).
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