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Ways to add life and wonder to a rainy garden including rain chain ideas, stepping stones, and inspiration for rainwater as a garden feature. Use these ideas to transform your backyard into a water garden paradise!
Sometimes rain can be seen as a dreary thing that gets in the way of outdoor plans. Most of the time there’s a more positive way to see it! That’s no more true than in the garden where rainwater nourishes plants and fills empty rain barrels. The look and sound of splashing water can be soothing too and make even the dullest day seem an oasis of calm.
These diy rain chain ideas and creative projects make the drizzle outside an exciting part of your outdoor space. They include everything from DIY rain chains and stepping stones to creative ways to redirect and use water in the garden.
Rain Chain Ideas
If you don’t know what a rain chain is, it’s an artistic replacement for a water spout. Typically, rainwater from the roof funnels and moves down it rather than a standard metal pipe. There are variations that use old pieces of guttering, steel buckets, and even dollar store finds. Rain chain ideas direct rainwater away while being a beautiful and therapeutic feature. These often handmade items are strings of objects hung by hooks to where water drains down from the roofs of buildings.
The purpose of a rain chain is channeling water down and away from buildings, just like a downspout. The difference is that they often slow the movement of water, and use it to create a soothing sound. Rain chains are often found in buildings in sensory gardens or close to a window or covered porch where people can benefit from the soothing sound of rain tinkling through chains, cups, spoons, and other items.
Wine Bottle Rain Chain
You can create a wine bottle rain chain by cutting wine bottles and wrapping them with chains from a hardware shop. Use the tops of the bottles for the rain chain and the bottoms to make wine bottle candles.
Zinc Guttering Rain Chain
Rainwater funnels down this clever wall piece shared by Elle Decoration. You can recreate this in your garden by using segments of old zinc guttering, buckets, watering cans, taps, and a basin to catch the water. It looks like the stock tank basin has plants growing in it too!
Sea Glass Stepping Stone
This DIY Sea Glass Stepping Stone looks pretty in rain or shine and is easy to make too. All you need is a concrete mix, an old pan or plastic plant saucer, and decorations. If you don’t have sea glass, you can use shells, marbles, broken crockery, or decorative aquarium glass.
More Garden DIY Projects
- How to Build a Pallet Planter
- Make a DIY Herb Spiral with pretty red bricks
- How to Build Raised Garden Beds
Metal Spoon Rain Chain
Gather together some old spoons, wire, and a few DIY tools and you can make this beautiful and durable Metal Spoon Rain Chain. You construct them with alternating sets of spoons turned upwards and downwards, which helps the water play as it trickles down. Over time a patina can form on these great rain chains that make them look antique and interesting.
Watering Can Rain Chain
Rain chain ideas mounted on walls can create such a beautiful statement piece for a garden. Particularly small gardens. In this one, you attach watering cans to a colored wall for a whimsical water spout feature. This one is constructed by hanging metal watering cans on sturdy pegs on the wall. As water fills them, it flows through the spout and into a lower watering can. I love how the pegs have little plants or succulents growing in them too!
Crystal Raindrops in the Garden
If you have a dry garden, you can create beautiful DIY rain using crystals. This clever idea uses a waterdrop-shaped crystal pinned to a tap over an old rusty bucket. It’s an art piece rather than a place to fill up your watering can.
River Rock Rain Chain
If you wrap craft wire around round rocks and connect each piece with wire loops, you can create a stunning and inexpensive DIY rain chain. As rainwater flows over each wire-wrapped rock, it moves down to the next creating a beautiful flow of water and light tinkle. You’ll need wire cutters and needle-nosed pliers for this project but if you have a way to get colored sea glass, large glass beads, river rocks, or beach pebbles, you could make a lot of these stunning features for very little money.
Fossil Stepping Stones
Stepping stones come in really useful as you’re making a mad dash out to the garden in spring in winter. They save your feet from getting muddy, stop grass from being ruined by foot traffic, and make trips out to the compost pile, greenhouse, or shed much more pleasant. This DIY fossil stepping stone is clever and fun and preserves the imprint of leaves from the garden. You can also find instructions for how to make it in my book, A Woman’s Garden.
Terracotta Pot Rain Chain
This DIY Terracotta Rain Chain from All Things Heart & Home cleverly uses the holes in mini terracotta pots to string a chain through. I love how the water spills down from one pot to the next to a rain chain basin filled with pebbles.
Boot Water Spout
This idea probably grew out of necessity rather than art but how cute is it? If water is coming through a downspout and you want to redirect it, you could place a boot on the bottom with the toe cut off. Imagine the water pouring out of this boot water spout!
Buy Rain Chains
In looking for rain chain ideas online I found quite a few that you can buy rather than DIY. They’re a beautiful alternative if you don’t have time to make your own rain chains. They include copper rain chains, a metal umbrella rain chain, a watering can rain chain, and even a butterfly rain chain.
At first, this idea looks like a creative way to direct runoff to a drain in the road. Look closer and you’ll see that there’s a pond at the end! This clever run-off pond makes use of rainwater from the roof. Instead of allowing it to drain away, you use it to create an attractive water feature in the front yard. Though it looks like a stream, there’s likely a waterproof membrane under the stones. I’d guess that there’s also an overflow drain near the pond.
If you have a downspout that empties some distance from the ground, create a downspout waterfall. All you need to do is stack flat rocks and gravel so that water travels down in an attractive way. The rocks also redistribute the water so that it drains in a wider area to the ground below and stops soil erosion. This is an attractive and smart way to slow water and help it to seep better into the ground.
DIY Tart Tin Rain Chain
The last rain chain DIY is a fun project that you could make with your kids. All you need to do to make a tart tin rain chain is thread different items along a length of sturdy wire. Make a loop at the top so that you can hang it from the corner of your roof then add beads, tart tins, yogurt pots, plastic cups, soda bottles, and whatever else you have to create a fun and whimsical rain chain. There are no rules here, other than the aim of directing water runoff from the roof and merrily down a set of shiny and recycled objects.