Why You NEED a Rain Chain: What It Is and How To Hang It

Why You Need a Rain Chain, What It Is and How to Hang It

A rain chain adds charm no matter where it is.

I have wanted a rain chain for YEARS! I FINALLY added one and I can’t believe I waited so long.

Not only did my rain chain add charm to my cottage garden, it also added curb appeal to my home and the most soothing sound when it rains.

Rain chains are all that and few people even know what they are.

A rain chain is a decorative chain that hangs from the gutters of a house or building and gently guides the water from the gutter to the ground. It is often a substitute for a downspout. It is desired for its beauty and the rhythmic sound it makes when rainwater is cascading down it.

Rain chains and charm go hand in hand. I can tell you how to hang them and where. You’re going to love yours!

For more ways to add charm to your garden, see my other blog HERE.

What is a Rain Chain?

Why You Need a Rain Chain, What It Is and How to Hang One

A rain chain is a decorative chain that hangs from the gutters of a house or building and gently guides the water from the gutter to the ground.

A rain chain is a lovely, charming substitute for the necessary but hum drum downspout on any home or garage, or he/she shed.

It hangs from the home’s gutter using a gutter clip and provides a gentle path for the rainwater from the gutter to the ground, creating a rhythmic sound making one dream of a babbling brook.

Rain chains are made of metal, most often copper or aluminum, and range from 7-9 feet long.

There are various styles so you can choose the one that speaks to your heart.

Most of them aren’t that expensive. Or difficult to hang.

Why You NEED a Rain Chain

Why You Need a Rain Chain, What It Is and How to Hang One

Nothing adds more charm to the garden than a rain chain! Plus it adds curb appeal.

  1. NOTHING adds more charm to your garden than a rain chain!
  2. Rain chains add the most peaceful sound to your garden. Babbling-brook-peaceful.
  3. Rain chains aren’t that expensive. Most of them range from $35-$100.
  4. Rain chains are easy to install. YOU CAN DO IT! (I will show you how below.)
  5. Rain chains have a practical usage. They gently guide water from the roof to the ground.
  6. Rain chains add winter interest to your garden. The flowers fade, but the rain chain keeps on shining.
  7. Rain chains give vertical interest to the garden. You can’t help but look up at it! (So charming.)

What is the Best Way to Hang a Rain Chain?

In most cases, the best way to hang a rain chain is as follows:

  1. Remove an existing downspout on your home (or garage or he/she-shed.) 
  2. Place a gutter clip in the existing hole where the downspout was connected.
  3. Hang the rain chain from the clip.
  4. You can choose to purchase an anchor so the rain chain will be secure to the ground, but in most cases, is not necessary.
  5. Place some stones or a potted plant at the base of the chain to handle the initial impact of the rainwater falling off the chain.
  6. Enjoy the beauty and sound of your new rain chain!

In my case, I had a large downspout (6 inches) draining a 10/12 pitched roof.

The downspout was serving a large area and carried a great deal of rainwater in the most intense storms.

I was timid to replace the large downspout with my beautiful rain chain.

Beautiful, but I was doubtful, or fearful, that it wouldn’t practically do the job.

Instead, I simply drilled another hole in my gutter near the downspout, inserted a gutter clip, and hung my rain chain from the clip.

Why You Need a Rain Chain, What It Is and How to Hang One

I hung my rain chain right beside my downspout. It has worked great and is so pretty!

Now it shares the rainwater load with the 6″ downspout.

It’s so, so, so pretty and works perfectly.

What is a Rain Chain Clip?

A rain chain clip is a simple tool used to hang a rain chain from an existing gutter. It will slide right into the hole previously drilled for the downspout. The clip is most often in the form of a ‘v’ with two arms at the top of the ‘v’ that rest in the gutter.  The rain chain hooks over the bottom point of the ‘v’.

Why You Need a Rain Chain, What It Is and How to Hang One

A rain chain clip from inside the gutter. It will take you longer to get out the ladder than it will to hang a rain chain.

Why You Need a Rain Chain, What It Is and How to Hang One

A rain chain clip from below the gutter. My rain chain had a hook that came with it. I just hung it right there in the bottom of the ‘v’.

My rain chain came with a hook at the end of it that I used to hang on my rain chain clip. So easy.

If yours doesn’t, you can use an ‘s’ hook or you can purchase a hook just for rain chains.

You may have a downspout adapter on your existing downspout that you plan to remove.

Leave the adapter attached and place the rain chain clip inside it.

Then reach up into the adapter to hang your clip.

If you plan on drilling a new hole in your gutter, as I did, or if you don’t have a downspout adapter, you can hang your rain chain directly in the hole you drilled out.

My rain chain clip is resting in my gutter and the ‘v’ part extends down below my gutter.

Why You Need a Rain Chain, What It Is and How to Hang One

I just cut the hole out of the gutter, slid in the rain chain clip, then hung my rain chain from it. You could also use a rain chain adapter if you wanted to hide the hole and the clip.

My rain chain is simply hanging on the ‘v’ of the clip. You can see it from below.

If you want a cleaner look, you can purchase a rain chain adapter.

They make really pretty ones for not that much money. (About $25.) I had planned on using one but never got around to it.

If you do drill a new hole in your gutter and want to use an adapter, be sure it is the diameter needed for your adapter.

This is much easier if you drill it out correctly the first time.

They are usually 4 1/2″ in diameter.

What is a Rain Chain Anchor?

A rain chain anchor connects to the bottom of the rain chain and then extends to the ground where it can be anchored so the rain chain won’t sway in the wind.

To be honest, I’ve never had a problem with my rain chain moving too much.

My advice is to skip the anchor.

Go ahead and hang your rain chain and live with it for a while.

If a problem with it swaying and swinging too much occurs, then purchase the rain chain anchor.

Another option is to place a planter at the bottom and secure the end of the rain chain in the planter with a simple stake and string.

You are bringing the ground up to the end of the rain chain.

Hide the base with a flower or plant you add to the container.

Or fill the planter with stones to weigh it down and hide the stake.

You can also plant shrubs under the rain chain.

The end of the chain will be hidden and secured in the shrub so that wind will not disturb it.

In my case, I hung my rain chain.

It was almost 2′ off the ground.

Why You Need a Rain Chain, What It Is and How to Hang One

The circle at the bottom of my rain chain could be attached to an anchor if you have one. The end of my rain chain is about 2′ off the ground. I’ve never had any trouble with it moving too much so have never needed an anchor.

I place a round bed of stones at its base so that the impact of the water would hit the stones first.

Why You Need a Rain Chain, What It Is and How to Hang One

I placed some stones at the base of my rain chain to take the impact of the rain cascading from the end of the chain to the ground. The hydrangea that has grown into this spot also helps soften the blow of the rain dropping off the chain.

I never anchored my rain chain and have not had any problems.

Since then, a hydrangea I planted near the rain chain has grown and now the end of the rain chain disappears into that shrub.

Where Should You Hang Your Rain Chain?

Let me give you 5 location options for your rain chain and all you need to consider with each one.

Replace An Existing Downspout with a Rain Chain

  1. First take notice of all the locations where you have an existing downspout.
  2. My first priority would be identifying the downspout that you will see most often so you can enjoy your rain chain daily.
  3. Consider a downspout in the front of the house to not only increase you enjoyment, but also increase the curb appeal of your home. 
  4. Once you’ve identified your placement of preference, evaluate the amount of rain coming off your roof to determine the practicality of a rain chain in this location. And to determine how you plan to mount your rain chain. (See above for mounting suggestions.)

Rain chains are practical but they also offer so much aesthetic value that you ideally want them to be in a place where you will be able to see them often.

Why You Need a Rain Chain, What It Is and How to Hang One

I placed my rain chain in front of my house. You can see it as you are walking down my front sidewalk. I can also enjoy it from my office and on the porch.

It can also increase your home’s curb appeal, so the front of the house can be a perfect spot.

But don’t miss out on the ability to hear the babbling brook sound of the rain chain.

Can you put it near a front porch or covered back porch where you can sit with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and listen to this calming sound during a rain shower?

Is there a corner that would accommodate the rain chain easily?

In other words, does the roof pitch and surface area look like it could handle a rain chain instead of a downspout?

A 5-inch or smaller downspout that is performing sufficiently could most likely be replaced by a rain chain.

I hung my rain chain right outside my office window.

When it rains, I open my window and can listen to the sound of not only the rain but also my rain chain.

Drill a New Hole in Your Gutter to Hang Your Rain Chain

If you have found the perfect location to hang your rain chain, but you are concerned the water flow will be too strong for your rain chain, consider drilling a new hole in your gutter beside the existing downspout.

This way you get the beauty of the rain chain and you don’t have to worry about the water being directed from your home properly.

This is exactly what I did at my house and it has worked perfectly.

The downspout and the rain chain share the rainwater distribution.

Hang Your Rain Chain from a Shed or Barn

Don’t limit the charm of a rain chain to just your home.

If you have a shed or outbuilding or barn, attach a rain chain to the corner and enjoy!

If you don’t have gutters on your building, just add an extended hook (like the one you use to hang a birdhouse) to the side and hang your rain chain from the hook.

Hang Your Rain Chain from a Tree

How easy is this?

Forget all the drilling and ladders.

Simply hook your sweet rain chain to a tree in the yard where you can see it and hopefully, even hear it.

Hang Your Rain Chain from a Post

If you have a post that is tall enough to hang a rain chain, attach a hook and hang it there. You can always remove links from your chain if it is too long.

Maybe you have posts on your front or back porch where you could attach a hook. Hang your rain chain from the hook.

Take a look around your home or garage or he/she shed. Where would you be able to most enjoy your rain chain?

How Long Should Your Rain Chain Be?

If you are hanging a rain chain from the gutter of a one-story house, an 8′-9′ rain chain should be sufficient, in most cases.

But if you’ve decided where you want to hang your rain chain (see above), measure from the bottom of your gutter to the ground.

It is okay if the rain chain is a foot or two off the ground.

If it is even shorter than that, you can add a planter at the base of the rain chain.

You could also purchase a rain chain anchor which I explained above.

Or plant a shrub at the base.

Another option is to purchase two rain chains and combine them to get the length you want.

You can also custom order the length of your rain chain at specialty stores.

The two things you want to keep in mind when deciding on the length of your rain chain are:

  1. Does the rain chain give enough guidance to the water so that it will flow from the gutter to the ground gently?
  2. Do you think it looks pretty? (This is COMPLETELY your call!)

My rain chain is 9′ long.

I have stones at the bottom of my rain chain to absorb the impact of the water when it hits the ground.

Potential Problems With Your Rain Chain

Rain chains are pretty simple but you may run across a few problems. I can help you avoid them or solve them.

Diverting Water Run-Off at the Base of Your Rain Chain

Be sure you are taking precautions to divert the water at the base of the rain chain away from your home or structure.

This can be easily accomplished with splash guards.

Or angle your rocks at the base in such a way that the water streams away from the foundation of the house.

You would be creating a mini dry creek bed.

Rain Chain Swinging Too Violently

If the rain chain is swinging too violently in the wind, purchase an anchor meant just for this problem.

You can also choose to anchor it yourself in a planter or with a shrub planted at its base.

Rain Chain Can’t Handle the Water Flow Properly

If you hang your rain chain, but then find it isn’t handling the water flow to your liking, replace the downspout.

Drill another hole near the downspout you replaced and hang your rain chain there.

They can share the rain flow.

 

A rain chain is a sure way to bring calm and peace to your home as well as a good deal of charm.

I hope you love yours as much as I love mine!

 

Tracy Crosland, owner of Hey Honeysuckle

Written by Tracy Crosland

I was born and raised in small town, Tennessee. As an adult, I found myself thrown into the construction business, building new homes in our little town. My son has now taken over the business, which means I do what I want - a lot of playing in my cottage flower garden (zone 7). I hope you feel the love in my garden and in my blogs and that we can be friends.

For more about me, click HERE.

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Cottage gardens make me happy!
I want you to be happy too…so this one’s on me.

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