When talking with people about rain barrels they always ask about the rain chain. It’s assumed that the mere fact of collecting rain water must require a rain chain. I’m going to settle this once and for all.
A rain barrel collects and stores the rain water. Water is dispersed into the rain barrel through downspouts, or canale’s.
A rain chains purpose is to direct the water into the storage bin by giving the rain something to grab onto. It’s also a decorative feature in the garden. Traditionally they were used in Japan as an alternative to a downspout they have since become ubiquitous with rain barrels.
I love how the rain chains are very good at directing the rain during long steady storms like the ones Seattle gets. They tend to not be as useful during our Southwestern monsoon rains. However, once the downpour is over and the flat roofs begin to drain, the rain chains perform by directing every last drop into the storage bin.
While a rain chain is certainly not required they add an artistic look to the garden year round and since it’s just a method of directing water into the barrel it can be made of quite literally anything. Check out these Pinterest boards and let your creative juices roll.
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