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How to Install a Rain Chain

Ask This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook installs a decorative and functional alternative to a downspout.

Steps for Installing a Rain Chain:

  1. Decide where the rain chain will be hung and install a downspout outlet in the gutter in the desired location.
  2. Dig a hole slightly wider than the width of your pot and at least 6” deep directly underneath the downspout outlet.
  3. Fill the hole with the ¾” stone.
  4. Flip the pot upside down and drill a few drainage holes with a masonry drill.
  5. Put the pot in place on top of the hole filled with stone.
  6. Next, hang the rain chain. Most rain chains usually come with specific installation instructions. It should hook right into the downspout outlet.
  7. Once the rain chain is hung, put the chain in the pot and fill the pot about three-quarters of the way with the ¾” stone.
  8. Fill the pot the rest of the way with the river stones. Use whatever is left over to cover the base underneath the pot as well.


Everything else Roger used for this project, including the stones, gravel, and mulch, can all be found at home centers and nurseries.