The What, Why, Where and How of Rain Chains

posted in: Gardening Tips | 6

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 The What, Why, Where and How of Rain Chains | Want to know what rain chains are? Or how they are installed? Or why you would want one?  Or where the water goes?  Find out here..
The What, Why, Where and How of Rain Chains

I actually don’t remember where I first saw a rain chain, but I do remember that I fell in love with it the moment I saw it.  I have one at the front of my house that I absolutely love, and I am plotting to get some more!

Although rain chains are becoming more popular, I still get a lot of people asking me what it is when they see it on my house…or if I happen to mention it in conversation.  So I thought I would write about my experience with my rain chain.

Contemporary landscape by debora carl landscape design

Contemporary Landscape by Encinitas Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers debora carl landscape design

But first…to answer the basic question…What is a rain chain?  At the functional level, rain chains are a replacement for the downspout from your gutters.  The water flows from the eaves trough through the hole where the downspout used to be and onto the chain.  Then it runs down the chain to whatever you are using to collect or redirect the water.

Rain chain cup with hole in the bottom
Rain chain cup with hole in the bottom

Many of the chains have pails or cups with holes in the bottom that direct the water down the chain.

However, I think rain chains are so much more than just a replacement for a downspout.  Click Next to find out more about rain chains.

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6 Responses

  1. Jody

    I of course love the leaves so will be anxiously waiting to see how you make yours. I am a sad to say,a copier of you wonderful people,but — I can copy and make my own with the best of them. We applied for a rain barrel last year but late as I had just bought my 1910 house. It has been made way to modern for me and a rain chains would be so lovely. And who thought to use the big urn. Garden center here I come. Thanks for sharing.

    • Wanda

      Thanks, Jody! It seems like a lot of the rain barrels are pretty modern looking (mine is too). I do think a big urn would look so much better…when I install my next rain chain, I’ll probably go that route, too :)

  2. Debbie

    Thank you for the wonderful article! I have been a fan of rain chains for a number of years. Recently, I got into Kiln formed glass and tried to create a rain chain made of recycled glass. The question was what type of metal to use to hold the glass together for weight and visual purposes. So I went to Home Depot and purchased some galvanized chains that were meant for outdoors, and proceeded. The end result was perfect and I was so happy. Unfortunately, within a week the chains were rusted and the rust stained the glass.

    I have been looking for “copper” chains that I could purchase and try my hand again. Unfotunately, copper is very expensive, and they do not sell chains where I live (Maui). Could you recommend either where I might find copper chains, or another metal that would not rust that is affordable?

    Thank you,

    • Thanks, Debbie! Even on the mainland, it’s hard to find chain that won’t rust and is reasonably priced…I actually ended up making my own copper rain chain from the flexible copper tubing that is usually used for installing refrigerators. It’s available in 20 foot lengths from the local hardware store and shouldn’t be very expensive. It took a couple of hours to cut and put together. If you’re interested in the instructions, you can find them here.

  3. lisafrequency

    You may want to try using a rust resistant out door spray paint on the galvanized steel chain.

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