Rain Chains… More than Just Curb Appeal

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???

Related Posts You Might Like To Read

Turning Rain Barrels into Curb Appeal

Curb Appeal: Gutter Cleaning and Maintenance

It’s about coming home… If you want a remarkable space that tells your story, contact me to see how we can help!

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Turning Rain Barrels Into Curb Appeal!

I’ve read so many posts, tweets, and Facebook comments on our extended ‘wet’ season, and have certainly contributed to them myself, that I thought it was time for a positive twist on our rain situation.

Rain barrels. Eco friendly, practical, technology old as the hills… They come in many shapes and sizes, in a variety of materials, and can be a huge benefit during the hot, dry summer months.  You can even choose to make them a decorative accent to your exterior styling too!

Like this rustic half barrel.


I love how it blends in and adds a touch of charm to this spot. Isn’t it awesome?

Or this old whiskey keg.


I like the way the colour of the strapping around the barrel blends with the bricks. I would consider painting the downpipe so it blended in as well.

And if you want to be extra creative, keep the platform in mind that you set the rain barrel on.


Nice work with the bricks. Lifting the barrel up off the ground like this makes filling a watering can easier too.

Or you can tuck a barrel right into the corner where it’s out of the way.


And where it’s hardly noticeable.

If your spot is out in the open, you can embrace the fact and integrate your barrel in a bright and cheerful way.


I really like how this barrel sits up making no excuses for why it’s there, and proudly displays the flowers on top.

This terracotta inspired barrel is actually a Cascata rain barrel.


Believe it or not, this barrel is made of molded plastic that is able to withstand extreme temperatures and will not chip, crack, or fade. Who would’ve known?

If you want to be really creative, maybe a painted barrel is the look for you.


Can you see the possibilities? The sky is the limit if you choose to head down this artistic path!

And if you have the space, these super-size rain barrels would be a very practical option to help carry you through a long, hot spell.

SZInteriors Photo

I would definitely do something to camouflage their industrial ‘not-so-chic’ looks though. Like maybe attaching a lattice screen around them, or painting them in some way to make them look nicer. There’s no reason to stop half way!

Did you know that  residential irrigation can account for up to 40% of domestic water consumption? That’s just one reason why rain harvesting is so important, and with the downpours we’ve had, now is a great time to get started!

Illustration: Annie Bissett

Installing your own rain barrel takes little more than a large container placed below your downspout, a childproof screen to keep out bugs and debris, a spigot to access the water, and an overflow valve. To keep mosquitoes away, try a “mosquito donut,” which bans the bugs but won’t harm plants or pets.   Source

So when you look outside and see this…


Just turn the tables into this!


How’s the rain so far?


Much prettier now, don’t you think?

With the rain we’ve been getting now, there’s no reason for your curb appeal to suffer later! Do you already have a rain barrel? Would you consider having one?

It’s about coming home… inside and out. If you want a remarkable space that tells your story, contact me to see how we can help!

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Little Splashes of… Spring?

Steve Hanks: Works of Art for the Soul

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