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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Making a Rain Chain from Dollartree Buckets

The past winter was, of course, our first winter in this home.

We quickly realized that there was lack of a rain gutter over the front porch steps. This created a lot of rain water, snow melt runoff, etc and excessive ice ended up on the front steps. It made for a dangerous situation, so we had to liberally sprinkle it with a lot of sidewalk salt for the winter. We use the front steps a lot, not only for visiting company, but also we go up and down them each day to get the mail from the mailbox.

So this summer we decided that it was time to put some kind of a rain gutter on the front porch, after we fixed up the metal roofing and porch edging with new soffit and fascia.  That part was completed two weeks ago.

We really only needed an L-shaped piece of gutter from the corner of where the two porches met, that spanned across the stairs. It really didn't need to go the entire length of the front porch. This area has a deluge of water from half of the large pyramidal shape roof on the south side of the house as well as half of sloped farmhouse roof on the north side of the house.

That is a lot of water to come down in one specific spot.  We figured out what we needed and Steve was able to put together the L shape rain gutter after getting a curbside pickup for the supplies.  Little Claire was eager and willing to help.

My only hesitation about a rain gutter, was that I didn't want an ugly downspout impeding our view as we sit out on the front porch.

So instead of a downspout, I came up with the next best thing...

I had seen some examples of these on a couple different landscaping sites and HGTV type shows. I found them fascinating and wanted to make one of my own.

I Googled and Pinterest'd and searched and looked on Facebook Marketplace and Etsy.  I didn't find anything I liked or could easily afford. Finally I came up with a good idea...

I had seen some cute little metal buckets a long time ago at Dollartree.  They were metal and small and were affordable. Combining that feature, along with some of the ideas that I had seen, I figured I could do something really reasonable and not invest a lot of money into it if it didn't work...

The next day I snuck on into Dollartree where my friend Barb works. I got in there as soon as they opened, I grabbed 14 little buckets and quickly checked out, keeping to myself and wearing my mask. Then I sanitized my hands liberally as soon as I got into the car while the buckets were tossed into the trunk. (I was seriously shaking with anxiety while doing that!)

They didn't have enough of one color so now it was time to take out my trusty can of matching red spray paint. Granddaughter Chelsea helped me with this step.

Easy Peasy!
We gave a few coats both inside and out.
Now they all match.

Next, I dug out a 15 foot a hunk of heavy nylon chain I had bought to hang planters (but never did)  that was about $15, and a variety of S hooks from Steve's tool bench stash.  The chain is solid molded nylon links, no seams or splits.  You could use metal chain, but I was trying to avoid rust.

Now it was time to let Steve give me a hand. He took out his drill with a 1 inch hole saw that is able to drill through metal. He carefully drilled a circular hole, centered in the bottom of each of the little buckets.

For this step, you have to be careful. The metal edges can be sharp. You could use a de-burring tool to take down the sharpness if you wish.

Steve hung the top of the chain with a strong eyelet into the fascia above the downspout opening part of the rain gutter.

Now we could carefully thread the chain through the center of each bucket and hang the S hooks into the appropriate links. It took a few times before we figured out the exact spacing to make the buckets reach evenly from the top down to the ground.

The bottom of the chain is resting in a large black rubber bucket with drainage holes on the bottom. We will later fill that bucket with white landscaping rock on our next curbside pickup at the hardware store.  For now there is just a little bit of sand in it.

None of the rain will go into the basement because it's far enough away from the foundation plus the dirt slopes away from the house. It will just go out into the front yard and absorb into the flowerbed and the lawn. Much better than landing on our steps!

I like how they are lined up with the pillar. 

In this next pic, you can see the portion of roof on the right has a valley that dumps half of that rainfall right onto this section of the porch roof. Then about half of the section of roof on the left also falls in this same area. The L-shaped rain gutter will take care of that problem and run it down the rain chain and out into the flower bed and lawn.  Better than dumping right onto the steps!

Of course, in the winter months we will take this down and we can replace it with just a piece of plain white downspout that will be not too noticeable as it will line up with the pillar behind it.

I was excited to see how it would work once we got it hung into place. Steve volunteered to set up the ladder and crawl up to the end of the rain gutter with a watering can. Here is a little video of our results:


That project was completed last week and. Today was the first time we had a real rainstorm so I was able to video tape it actually working with a regular rainfall.

This is this is so cool!!!
 Here is a video link from today:

For the initial investment of about $35 which covers the cost of the buckets, the chain, the paint, and the S hooks, I was able to get a really cool rain chain.

I didn't count in the price of the rain gutter because that was something we needed no matter what.  

Steve said it's one more step to "Prettying Up The Place", and it balances out the American flag on the other side of the front steps.

I think he's right!


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