Rain, rain, on the chain: do you use a rain chain to manage water in your garden? The sometimes basic, sometimes beautiful rain chain is a way of controlling the way that water flows from your roof into your garden. How does this technology work, and how can it help you create a garden that’s full of well-mannered water flow?
What is a Rain Chain?
A rain chain is a technology that guides “…rain water visibly down chains or cups from the roof to the ground,” according to RainChains These chains are in lieu of a downspout, and they function with your other roof infrastructure. Rain chains are not a new idea: for hundreds of years, the Japanese have used these decorative chains to bring beauty to the rain falling in the garden.
How Do You Install a Rain Chain?
Rain chains require some simple hardware that comes with the chain. This is either a gutter clip or a gutter strap. A clip or strap allows the chain to connect to the gutters and hang from the hole where the downspout was located. Home Depot suggests that you “Measure the distance between the bottom of the gutter and the ground to determine how much chain you need.” If you’re in an area that receives a lot of water, you could also consider doubling-up on your rain chain.
Is it time to replace your gutters? Download our free gutter guide today.
The rainwater should land in a rain garden, pond, or barrel below. Ideally, the water moving down the rain chain will be clean, providing a further incentive to either clean your gutters regularly or install gutter guards. Rain chains are less attractive when they have leaves and sticks stuck in them due to roof debris.
The Style of the Rain Chain
Rain chains can suit any home, though they tend to work well with eclectic, cottage-style homes and with modern designs that involve a lot of clean lines. Since they come in copper, aluminum, and brass, they can match many different types of homes. Over time, the rain chain will tend to take on a weathered look, and this is part of the charm of the rain chain.
Incorporating the Rain Chain Into Your Garden Landscape
Many people love rain chains because they are beautiful. However, they also need to be functional for your home and garden. Sending a lot of water toward a pond at the base of your house can be hazardous for your home unless you plan to contain that water and channel it away from the house. When you install your rain chain, make sure that any water you collect is either used by plants or moves away from the house into a french drain, a swale, or an intentional wet space like a rain garden. You can arrange stones and pebbles at the bottom of the rain chain to manage the water flow as well, helping the water move toward the garden and away from the home.