Design With Weather: Introduce a Rain Chain
Create something beautiful with the runoff from your roof
My husband and I live in a 1950 ranch-style home a few miles west of Madison, Wisconsin. When I'm not working, I like to do projects around my house, get out in my solo canoe or go camping, read design and psychology blogs and work on mixed media art.
My husband and I live in a 1950 ranch-style home a few miles west of Madison,... More »
Raindrops fall by the thousands throughout the spring and even summer months, only to roll down the pitch of the roof, stream across the gutter, cascade through the downspout and finally puddle at the ground. The travel seems a bit mundane if you ask me. Fortunately, there is something you can do to make that journey seem a little more worthy of appreciation, and that is by replacing a ho-hum aluminum downspout with a beautiful copper rain chain.
What originated in Japan hundreds of years ago, the kusari doi, or "chain gutter," is a simple way to carry rain to the ground in an aesthetically pleasing manner. The Japanese have used these chains on temples and homes over the years with the sole purpose of embracing the beauty of a rain-filled day.
Only over the last couple decades have we begun to use these beautiful chains throughout the rest of the world, but it seems to be a progression that is quickly catching on.
It is common to see actual chains rather than decorative cups on taller homes, since a simple chain is less expensive than a long stack of cups.
A pair of rain chains is a nice addition to the front of this home and will surely catch the eye of anyone who visits.
When it's sunny, a strand of ornamental copper vessels enhances the beauty and warmth of this outdoor cooking space. When it's rainy, it takes on a welcoming, song-like trickle.
If you're going to go through the trouble of removing your downspouts to replace them with a rain chain, you might as well take it to the next level and enhance the area where the rain settles. Some stacked rocks or a ceramic pot with a hole drilled through the bottom looks great and helps the rain make its way into the ground.
Although a metal chain hanging from the roof has potential to look rather industrial, this exterior seems to embrace the rugged feel quite well with the help of the various metals used in throughout the architecture.
Being able to admire the rain from the warmth and comfort of your home is a nice thought and something to keep in mind if you choose to add rain chains to your house.
A column that hangs into a yard rather than off to the side of the house seems less out of place with the use of a defined area to catch the water.
Although not present in this photo, a rain barrel would be a nice addition at the bottom of a chain, especially in a heavily planted area like this one.
This two-story chain of cups looks rather charming suspended from the top of this home, doesn't it?
Another rain chain to greet the homeowner each time they come home, the front of a house seems like the perfect place for such a simple yet delightful element.
You can add extra punch to your yard if you have two or more chains, especially if they reach into a small basin like this.
Have you seen rain chains at the store lately? What are your thoughts? If you haven't been able to find them, there are a few great online resources:
How do you design for your weather? Please tell us below!
Ideabook updated on Nov. 19, 2012.
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