Rain Chains

Posted by Ann Greenberger | Oct 06, 2009
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Want a decorative alternative to downspouts? Try an elegant Japanese rain chain! Whether purchased or DIY, a rain chain will add function and beauty to your home.

What is a Rain Chain?

A rain chain transports rainwater down a chain of small copper funnels (often designed as lotus flowers, umbrellas, or fish). To attach your rain chain, just insert it into your existing rain gutter drain hole or place it on a corner eave of your home. Place a basin or rain barrel beneath to collect the flow of rainwater, which can be used for watering your garden or other household purposes (washing the dog or your car, for example).

The appeal of a rain chain is twofold. Water splashes and glides along the chain, creating a spectacular vision. The sound of the flowing water adds another dimension of beauty to this practical accessory. Consider the following array of rain chains to choose for your home, from handcrafted custom-made pieces to superstore versions.

One helpful hint about rain chains: those designed as plain round or square links (rather than small cups in the shape of fish, flowers, and so on) may cause more splashing of water than more substantial designs. Photo credit/available at: Rainchainsdirect.com.

 

Copper Umbrella Rain Chain

Most rain chains on the market are copper, which eventually develops a blue-green patina. This rain chain is a basic yet stunning piece. Rain chains are usually 8-9 feet long, and you can buy 32-inch extensions. Also available are copper funnels, tulips, and bowl shapes. Photo credit/available at: Japanesegifts.com. 

Aluminum Rain Chain

Aluminum rain chains are durable, lightweight, and often less expensive than their copper counterparts. These 8 ½ foot rain chains come in many designs-scalloped cups, flared cups, links. The joining wires between each cup are stainless steel, for strength during heavy water flow. Photo credit/available at: Guttersupply.com.

 

Amaryllis Copper Rain Chain

Rain chains are not just a specialty item: even the superstores carry them. They are likely to cost less than boutique or handcrafted rain chains. Walk to the brick and mortar stores like Target and Costco, or order online from Amazon or Overstock. Photo credit/available at: Overstock.com.

Watering Can and Flowers Rain Chain

These are 6 feet long and have one watering can and 4 flowers. They come in polished or antique copper finishes. This site also carries a teapot and teacup rain chain. Photo credit/available at: Rainbarrelsandmore.com.

 

Hand-Crafted, Custom-Made Rain Chains

These are 6 feet long and have one watering can and 4 flowers. They come in polished or antique copper finishes. This site also carries a teapot and teacup rain chain. Photo credit/available at: Rainbarrelsandmore.com.

 

Rain Basin

There are many varieties of basins that catch the rain water at the bottom of your rain chain-just use your imagination! You can buy a hand-hammered copper basin (made of recycled copper!) that attaches to the bottom of your rain chain. Or, consider a granite basin to receive the water. Add a water lily or decorative stones to create a more sophisticated look. Photo credit/available at: Greenandmore.com.

 

DIY Rain Chain

Make your own DIY rain chain out of materials such as shower curtain rings or a standard chain link. Pick up a couple of items from your local hardware store -- a stake to secure the rain chain to the ground, and a gutter strap to attach the top of the rain chain to the gutter. To protect your foundation, direct water at least six feet away from the house, using a sloping rock or other device. Photo credit: Cultivatinglife.com.

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