The weather is shifting and with that comes the need to pay close attention to your exterior maintenance and curb appeal. Are your gutters clean and running freely, and where is all that water going? Have you considered implementing a rain barrel (like I wrote about here)? And do you know about rain chains?
Rain chains? Pardon?
Rain chains are an ancient Japanese form of a down spout. The chain, sometimes linked with cups, hangs straight down from the corner of the eves and acts like a funnel for rain water . In Japanese they are referred to as “kusari doi” 鎖樋, which literally means “chain gutter.”
Here you see rain chains that are made up of linked cups.
The cups are open on the bottom, which allows the water to flow through freely while being channelled at the same time.
And here you see just a simple double linked chain. Links like this are closest to the original form…
One thing to note, chains tend to splash more than cups, but the downward channelling is still extremely effective. Isn’t a rain chain a beautiful thing? It’s such a great looking alternative to conventional down spouts.
Rain chains are typically made of copper, which allows them to age and patina gracefully.
Like this antique tulip cup rain chain.
A little trivia on the side. Did you know that copper is the worlds most reusable resource, and because of that it also has the highest recycling rate of any other engineering material?
That’s an aside, but on the note of being environmentally conscious, did you know that rain chains tend to encourage water collection? They are often integrated into exterior vignettes where the chain falls down into a decorative container or area.
Like a rain barrel…
Or a water garden…
Or a basin immersed in a beautiful garden…
Basins are great because they not only catch water, but can be tipped and tilted to strategically direct the overflow.
Like this basin here.
This is also a great example of a rain chain and basin fusion with a rain garden.
A rain garden is a planted or stone-covered bed that is designed for water to be slowly absorbed into the soil and help mitigate the effects of water run-off.
Here you see another variation of a rain garden.
This close-up shows the surface area of a miniature underground well that has been filled with river rock for drainage.
It also demonstrates another valuable technique, anchoring the rain chain to prevent it from swaying in the wind, which of course also keeps the water channelled where it’s supposed to go!
Rain chains come in many shapes and lengths. Here are a few of my favourites.
I couldn’t resist starting with this shiny new copper umbrella rain chain!
It won’t stay this shiny for long, but to me that’s not a bad thing.
Because here you have an inverted umbrella that has started to dull down, and I think it looks more natural this way.
Did you notice that the inverted umbrellas actually become rain cups on the chain?
Aren’t they great?
This honey bee rain chain made me think of Young House Love.
Their thing is bees, and they are one of my favorite go-to blogs. Have you read their blog?
And these next ones are just a few random shapes in rain chains that appeal to me…
Like these double linked circles.
These double linked diamonds.
And these double linked tear drops.
There’s definitely no crying in the rain if you own a rain chain!
And just in case you’re not convinced a rain chain is the thing for you or your curb appeal…
Would this rain chain fountain help you change your mind?
I love this feature! And it would be so easy to make.
Do you have a rain chain in lieu of a traditional down spout? If not, would you consider hanging one???
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