An ingenious innovation by the Japanese, rain chains are a wonderful alternative to a rain gutter downspout. The Japanese have used rain chains for hundreds of years. Traditionally known as “Kusari Doi”, they were used to guide rainwater into large pots (ancient rain barrels) for household and garden purposes.
Today, rain chains are primarily used as a decorative alternative to a standard downspout. The Japanese rain chains are often intricately designed and constructed with linked funnels that allow the water to flow properly through them.
When choosing a rain chain for your home, it is important to consider several variables to ensure the best fit for your climate and style of home.
Copper rain chains are the most popular and most durable chains available on the commercial market. Depending on your climate, copper rain chains will also age to a beautiful verdigris patina over time. Rain chains made from brass and aluminum are also available.
Consider the style that would work best for your home. Link designs are the closest to the original Japanese Kuari Doi form and can vary from a plain link chain to a fancy combination of shapes and sizes. Link styles tend to splash more than cup styles and this may be an important consideration for areas near doors and windows.
Cup-style gutter chains have open bottoms and act like funnels focusing the water from one cut into the next one below. This style does a better job of directing the rain downward and has a more dramatic sound as the water flows, but they are more expensive and weighty than the chain-link style.
The final decision is if a rain basis will be at the bottom of the gutter chain. A rain barrel can be used to store the water or the water can be directed away from the home to a rain garden or other suitable landscape feature. The rain chain is simply fixed to the hole in your gutter (where the downspout usually goes) and allowed to fall to the rain barrel or garden area.
The addition of a rain chain to your home and garden will add a peaceful ambience. Each time it rains an audible and beautiful open water feature will provide an important function for your home. -KATHY FAIRCHILD