7 wonderful rain chain ideas that will add beauty and brilliance to your outdoor space

These rain chain ideas will turn dreary droplets into dreamy decor

Rain chain ideas are so clever. Here are three of these - a copper lily shaped rain chain with bird cut-outs, a silver umbrella rain chain with purple hydrangeas behind it, and a copper watering can rain chain
(Image credit: Walmart / Getty Images / joel-t / Baber Photography)

Utilizing rain chain ideas will add beautiful zen to your outdoor space. These alternatives to downpipes collect water, help divert it back to the soil, and can even make beautiful sounds.

We've asked landscaping and design pros what kinds of rain chains you can incorporate into your area From rustic chains to ones that can catch water, there are so many possibilities for this nifty feature. 

If you've found out what a rain chain is and want to try bringing it in, these are all great starting points.

Pretty rain chain ideas

For those looking for backyard ideas that are functional and fab, rain chains are the way to go. They can prevent the risk of flooding and are far prettier than boring downpipes.

Our experts have recommended specific styles throughout, which we have sought out in case you want to bring a chic chain into your place ASAP.

The prices below were correct at the time of publishing this article.

1. Choose chic copper

A copper rain chain in a silver bucket with a dark green brick wall behind it, a green spiky leafy plant to the left of it and gray stones underneath it

(Image credit: Getty Images / Solidago)

This material looks great on everything from small kitchen appliances to vintage decor, and it also works aesthetically and practically outside.

“For example, copper rain chains are a favorite for their ability to age beautifully over time, developing a patina that adds rustic charm,” explains Joe Gerrior, landscaping expert and founder of Gerrior Masonry & Landscape Construction Corp.

“I've installed these in several projects, particularly around patio areas, where they complement brick stairways and masonry features, creating a cohesive look,” he adds.

The copper chains not only serve as an alternative to traditional downspouts but also act as artistic elements that blend seamlessly with the landscape.

2. Pick a zen-inspired design

A silver Japanese rain chain hanging in front of a body of water

(Image credit: Getty Images / DK Media)

Transform your front or backyard into a relaxing retreat by choosing a rain chain with a zen-like quality.

“Create a serene atmosphere with rain chains inspired by Japanese gardens, where rain chains originated from,” suggests Nina Lichtenstein, principal designer and founder of Nina’s Home Design. 

She suggests opting for minimalist designs featuring little cups or links that produce a soothing trickle of water —  perfect for meditation areas and for creating backyard privacy

3. Try nature-inspired designs

A copper flower rain chain with bird cut-outs adorning it, hanging from a green leafy tree with a beige wall and gray door behind it

(Image credit: Walmart)

Complement the beauty of the outdoors by reaching for rain chain ideas that celebrate the wildlife that will be around it.

Nina says, “Bring elements of nature into your outdoor space with rain chains adorned with leaf shapes, butterflies, or bird motifs.”

Not only are these whimsical designs playful, but they'll also connect your home with the surrounding environment.

4. Go for a simple chain

A black metal chain with droplets cascading from it, with green trees and plants behind it

(Image credit: Getty Images / kschulze)

For those looking for modern rain chain design ideas, try ones that are simplistic yet stylish.

“In more contemporary settings, I've utilized stainless steel rain chains. These are great for properties that require a sleek, modern touch,” Joe says.

He continues, “On a commercial project, I paired stainless steel chains with concrete and stonework to create a minimalist drainage solution that also serves as an eye-catching feature.”

This doesn’t need to be anything specialist either — just look for a robust chain such as the Shoreline Marine Steel Chain from Walmart which is corrosion-resistant and has a galvanized finish.

5. Find ones with water bowls

A silver umbrella rain chain with blue and purple hydrangeas with green trees behind it

(Image credit: Getty Images / joel-t)

If you’re looking for rain chain ideas that will capture as much water as possible, pick ones specifically made for this.

Joe says, “For example, integrating chains with water bowls in a cascading setup can create a visually stunning and soothing water garden.”

“This technique has proven successful in several large-scale landscaping projects, where it enhances both functional drainage and ornamental appeal,” he explains.

These can either be smaller bowls like the sweet umbrellas above or bigger ones, such as the Monarch Dish Rain Chain from Amazon that is made by skilled artisans and is rust-resistant. 

6. Add watering can chains

A copper rain chain with five watering can decorations, with a brick wall to the right of it and brown trees in the distance behind it

(Image credit: Getty Images / Baber Photography)

If you’re utilizing rain chain ideas to water your plants, it makes perfect sense to choose ones in watering can shapes.

“These will let rainwater cascade from spout to spout, adding a playful element to your outdoor decor,” Nina says.

You can also create your own rain chain by repurposing vintage watering cans and hanging them one after the other.

7. Design your own

A sparrow taking shelter in a silver house shaped bird feeder with a rock and glass rain chain next to it

(Image credit: Getty Images / Lightguard)

This is one of the easiest DIY home project ideas, as it will just take a few minutes to make and requires minimal materials.

“Get creative and craft your own rain chain using unique materials such as seashells, rocks, or recycled glass,” Nina suggests. 

“Personalize the design to reflect your style and add a handmade touch to your front or backyard,” she adds.

To sculpt your own, hang your chosen pieces from a bendable wire such as the TecUnite Aluminum Craft Wire from Amazon, which comes in six different lengths and five colors, so you can create the right size and style for your space.

With these creative rain chain ideas, you can transform a practical addition into a captivating design feature that enhances your home's exterior. 

“Let these ideas inspire you to think of rainwater management as an opportunity for creativity and beauty,” Nina finishes by saying.

If you want to delve deeper into the practicalities of this solution, having rainwater harvesting explained may be beneficial. 

Eve Smallman
Content Editor

Hi there! I’m a content editor at Real Homes. I've been a lifestyle journalist for over five years, previously working as an editor across regional magazines. Before this, I graduated from Nottingham Trent University a degree in journalism, along with an NCTJ gold diploma. I love running, decorating my rented Victorian home, and discovering new cheeses. For Real Homes, I specialize in interior design, trends and finding the best viral buys.