How to Propagate Pothos: Best Guide for Beginners & 3 Mistakes to Avoid

how to propagate pothos plants

Editor’s note: Propagating plants is essential as plants are the key to healthy ecosystems. The following article shows how to propagate a pothos plant. It’s an excellent plant to learn from, and use this skill to create more plants for free.

Propagating pothos is a fast, cheap, and easy way to get more houseplants. This beginner-friendly vine is a vigorous grower and will benefit from a regular trim. Our how to propagate pothos guide will discuss the best methods with easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions.

Getting Started

Before getting started, here are some essential tips for propagating your pothos successfully.

Materials You Will Need

You only need a few supplies to propagate pothos, and you can easily pick them up from a hardware store or gardening center.

Here’s a quick shopping list:

  • Sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears;
  • Small glass or jar (if propagating in water);
  • Pot with drainage holes;
  • Chunky soil mix is made from fresh potting soil, perlite, and coco coir.

Tip: Pothos cuttings root very fast and don’t usually need rooting hormone. 

When to Propagate Pothos

You can propagate pothos all year round. For best results, try propagating pothos in spring and summer, when the plant is actively growing. Pothos cuttings grow roots faster during the brighter, warmer months and will root slower in winter. 

Tip: The same method can be used to propagate all types of pothos. This includes the classic golden pothos and varieties such as Marble Queen, Pearls and Jade, Neon Pothos, Manjula, Cebu Blue, and even Satin Pothos (Scindapsus pictus).  

How Many Pothos Cuttings Do You Need?

To make a bushy pothos plant, you will need at least 3-4 cuttings per pot. For a 6-inch pot, five cuttings should be enough. This will give the roots space to develop and give the pothos a fuller look. 

Tip: You can propagate pothos from a cutting without leaves. As long as the stem is at least 2 inches long and has a growth node with a visible aerial root, you can put it in soil or water, and new roots will grow. 

How to Cut the Pothos Vine for Propagation

showing how to cut pothos vine for propagation

Start by untangling your pothos plant, and pick 3-4 of the longest vines for propagation. Each vine should have at least 6-7 leaves. 

You can either cut a long vine into single-node sections or take individual cuttings from several vines. All leaves should be healthy, with no pests or diseases, so check them thoroughly before taking any cuttings.

Next, locate the growth node on the vine. It will look like a small lump where the leaf petiole joins the main stem with a woody aerial root. 

Take your scissors or pruning shears and wipe them with isopropyl alcohol to disinfect the blade. Cut the pothos vine at an angle, half an inch above and below the node. That’s it: you now have a pothos cutting! 

Tip: Never cut more than ⅔ of the pothos plant. If you miss too much, the parent plant can go into shock and take several months to start growing leaves again. 

Step-By-Step Guide for How to Propagate Pothos

The easiest pothos propagation methods are rooting cuttings in water or soil. Here’s what you need to do. 

Propagating Cuttings in Water

  1. Use a sharp, sterilized blade and cut the pothos vine ½ an inch above and below the growth node.
  2. Cut at least three cuttings per pot for a bushy pothos plant
  3. Half-fill a glass with room temperature water.
  4. Put your pothos cuttings in the glass, ensuring that the growth node is submerged, but the leaves stay above the water level.
  5. Keep your glass of cuttings in a warm, bright room but away from direct sunlight. 
  6. Change the water in the glass once every 5 to 7 days to prevent algae and bacteria buildup.
  7. After 7 to 10 days, the cutting will grow roots.
  8. Wait until the roots are at least 2 inches long, or another 3-4 weeks. Then, transplant your rooted pothos cuttings into a well-draining, chunky soil mix, and water them well.  

Tip: Pothos cuttings can speed up water propagation for other plants. Their roots release water-soluble hormones that promote cell division and rapid root growth. So if you’re propagating other houseplants in water, put 1-2 pothos cuttings in the same glass. 

Time Lapse of Pothos Propagation in Water

This video is a time lapse that will show you what the various stages of root growth will look like.

Propagating Cuttings in Soil

  1. Cut the pothos vine half an inch above and below the growth node, using a shard, sterilized blade.
  2. Take a pot with drainage holes and fill it with a chunky soil mix.
  3. Stick each cutting in the soil one inch deep and gently press the soil around it so that the cutting sits upright.
  4. Water the soil slowly and evenly until the water starts dripping through the drainage hole.
  5. Put the pot in a warm, bright room, and keep the soil moist.
  6. Pothos cuttings take longer to root in the soil. After 3-4 weeks, give them a light pull. If you encounter resistance, it means that the cuttings have developed roots. 

Water vs. Soil Propagation: Which Is Best?

Water propagation is the fastest and easiest way to root pothos cuttings. Compared to soil propagation, your cuttings will root up to 3 weeks faster, especially in a warm, sunny room. 

Keeping the cuttings in water also makes it easier to see if and when the roots have started growing. And if you remember to change the water at least once every five days, you won’t have problems with rot, a common issue in soil propagation. 

Overall, we recommend using the water propagation method for your pothos cuttings. But if you want to root them in soil instead, there are no rules against it.  

Troubleshooting Common Propagation Mistakes

Scindapsus pictus or satin pothos being propagated in pot
Scindapsus pictus – Satin Pothos

Let’s look at some of the most common pothos propagation problems and how to fix them.

Cuttings Are Not Rooting

There are several reasons why your pothos cuttings are not growing roots:

  • The cutting has no growth node. You can’t propagate pothos from just a leaf, so always make sure the cutting has a node.
  • Cuttings are not getting enough light. Keep them in a bright, indirect light room but away from the intense afternoon sun.
  • The cutting is too long. Try using single-node cuttings instead or vines shorter than 6 inches.
  • It’s too early. Pothos cuttings take between 1 and 4 weeks to start growing roots. They will root faster in water, and if you propagate them during spring and summer.

Cuttings Turning Black

Pothos cuttings can be susceptible to stem and root rot (PDF), which causes them to wilt and turn black. If propagating in water, change the water once every five days. 

For soil propagation, use a well-draining potting mix, and allow the top half-inch of the soil to dry out before watering again.  

Cuttings Wilted After Transplanting

If pothos cuttings are drooping after transplanting to the soil, this is usually caused by too much or too little water. Keep soil moist but not soaked, and always use a well-draining potting mix. Also, avoid sudden changes in temperature, which can also cause the cuttings to wilt.

Final Thoughts

That’s a wrap on our how to propagate pothos guide. Enjoy your baby plants, and remember to check our in-depth pothos care guide to keep your plants thriving. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you propagate pothos straight into soil?

Yes, you can propagate pothos straight into the soil. It is mentioned in this article. It may save you some time transplanting from water, but it will take longer and is a bit more risk for problems. Water is the preferred method.

How long does it take for pothos to propagate in water?

You will usually see root growth after 7-10 days. Once the roots are 1-2″ long you can transplant into soil, or keep in water with a good quality liquid fertilizer.

Can you propagate pothos without leaves in water

You can propagate pothos without leaves using a root or stem cutting. But, as stated above, it is usually better to select a healthy section with 6-7 leaves for best results.

What to do about pothos propagation root rot?

Root rot is usually caused by fungal diseases or overwatering. Roots will have a foul smell and be brown or black. These damaged sections should be cut off. Then, place the pothos into new sterile potting soil.

Can pothos propagate from just a leaf?

No, you will need a node that can grow roots. Just using a leaf will not work.

Can pothos live in water forever?

If you enjoyed propagating your pothos in water, don’t feel like potting it in soil. You can leave it in water, and it will happily live out its days. But, you will need to ensure proper care, such as using liquid fertilizer to ensure it is getting the nutrients it needs.

This article was originally published on

Drought-Tolerant Plants For Every Landscape & Plant Type

drought tolerant plants in a front yard

This article was initially published on We’ve republished it because a part of healing water is reducing the amount of water that is used on landscape irrigation. Drought-tolerant native plants are the key to making this work, along with many other benefits. Plus, they’re beautiful and require less maintenance. Enjoy! I hope it inspires you to plant drought-tolerant plants and help save our water supply.

Drought sounds like a gardener’s worst nightmare. But despite the common association of gardening with watering cans or hoses, many plants can tolerate periods of drought once they are established. 

So many that it would be impossible to survey them all here. Instead, we’ll go over a few of our favorite drought-tolerant plants. Plus, we’ll offer some tips for additional ways to make your plants more drought-tolerant.

A Quick Definition

Before we dig into specific types, let’s start with a quick definition to define the meaning of drought-tolerant plants.

A drought-tolerant plant is any plant that can survive long periods without water. You can identify many of these plants by the appearance of visible characteristics that help them resist drought and harsh sun rays. 

Some plants use a silver leaf color to reflect harsh sun rays. By reflecting sunlight, this foliage reduces the water loss that would otherwise occur via transpiration. 

On other plants, fine hairs protect stems and leaves. These hairs help trap moisture at points of delicate plant tissues. They also function as a physical barrier that limits air movement across the leaves, thus reducing transpiration. 

Succulent leaves and taproots store water, helping plants to tolerate dry spells. 

Drought-Tolerant vs. Drought-Resistant

While preparing your gardens for harsh summer weather, you’ll probably come across the term drought-resistant. Drought-resistant and drought-tolerant do not indicate the same thing, even though people use the terms interchangeably. 

Drought-tolerant plants will survive on minimal rainfall for short periods. Drought-resistant plants can survive without water for long periods. 

You might also come across the term xeriscape or xeriscaping (PDF). These terms refer to a landscaping style that deliberately uses drought-tolerant plants to achieve water conservation goals. 

Similarly, water-wise indicates gardening that incorporates sensible water usage techniques. This strategy and associated gardening practices can also be called a dry garden, dry landscaping, water-smart, water-conservation, and desert landscaping. 

Drought-Tolerant vs. Heat-Tolerant

These two terms reflect often related conditions. However, they don’t refer to the same kind of tolerance. Remember: droughts can occur in the winter as well in the summer. The word drought simply refers to an extended period without moisture. 

Heat tolerance refers to a plant’s ability to endure heat stress rather than water scarcity. (Even under intense heat, heat-tolerant plants can sustain vital leaf gas exchange.) So, while many heat-tolerant plants are also drought-tolerant, the terms should not be regarded as interchangeable. 

Drought-Tolerant Plants For Pots

Potted plants typically require more water than bedded plants because there is less available moisture in the soil. It also means less space for roots to spread, limiting their ability to capture what moisture is available. The soil in pots has a higher temperature than ground soil, meaning it dries out faster. 

Nevertheless, if you want to grow a container garden, you have many options for drought-tolerant plants. Here are a few favorites: 


Blue Marguerite Daisy

Genus Name:Felicia amelloides
Features:Spring & Summer Blooms
Light:Part to Full Sun
Propagation:Stem Cuttings and Seed


Genus Name:Lantana
Features:Summer & Fall Blooms
Height:6-12″, 1-3′, 3-8′
Light:Full Sun
Propagation:Stem Cuttings and Seed

Morning Glory

This flower is a cottage garden classic. Loved for its trumpet-shaped flowers that blossom from summer to fall. Available in a range of colors, some also feature variegated foliage.

Grows well in warmer weather with structures such as trellises, arbors, and fences.

Genus Name:Ipomoea mauritiana
Features:Summer & Fall Blooms
Height:3-8′, 8-20′
Light:Full Sun
Propagation:Stem Cuttings and Seed


Zinnia is one tough annual and comes in various sizes and colors. Pollinators also love them. Use low-growing Zinnias for landscape or garden borders. And tall varieties for fresh cut flowers. Plus, they are deer-resistant.

Genus Name:Zinnia
Features:Summer & Fall Blooms
Height:3-8′, 1-3′
Light:Full Sun
Propagation:Stem Cuttings and Seed



Geranium’s often get confused with annuals (genus Pelargonium), but there are more than 300 varieties of perennial Geraniums. So, you can find one that will work with practically any spot in your landscape.

Genus Name:Geranium sp.
Features:Spring Through Fall Blooms
Height:6-12″, 1-3′, 3-8′
Width:6″ – 4′
Light:Shade, Part Sun, Full Sun
Propagation:Division and Seed


Works great as a ground cover or in a container. Features shiny evergreen leaves with blue flowers

Genus Name:Vinca
Features:Spring Through Fall Blooms, Evergreen in Winter
Height:6-12″, 1-3′
Light:Shade, Part Sun, Full Sun
Propagation:Stem Cuttings and Division


Salvia is a relative of mint and features long blooms. Available in a range of colors and sizes. Make for excellent drought-tolerant planting that hummingbirds will love (along with pollinators).

Genus Name:Salvia
Features:Spring Through Fall Blooms
Height:1-3′, 3-8′
Light:Part Sun, Full Sun
Propagation:Stem Cuttings, Division and Seed



Also known as pot marigolds, the calendula resembles daisies and features great fall blooms. It is also a drought-tolerant edible plant, as you can eat the blossoms.

Genus Name:Calendula
Features:Spring & Fall Blooms
Light:Part Sun, Full Sun


Catmint is easy to grow and versatile. It features deep purple blooms that blossom at the beginning of summer.

Genus Name:Nepeta
Features:Summer & Fall Blooms
Height:6-12″, 1-3′, 3-8′
Light:Part Sun, Full Sun
Propagation:Seed, Division & Stem Cuttings


Lavender will delight with its aromatic oils. For more flavor and scent, choose darker flowers.

Genus Name:Lavandula spp.
Features:Summer Blooms
Light:Full Sun
Propagation:Seed & Stem Cuttings


Genus Name:Rosmarinus officinalis
Features:Spring & Summer Blooms
Height:1-3′, 3-8′
Light:Full Sun
Propagation:Seed & Stem Cuttings


This is also another drought-tolerant edible plant. Thyme is perfect for adding some additional flavor to food while also adding texture to the landscape. Some people even use thyme as a lawn substitute.

Genus Name:Thymus
Features:Spring Blooms
Height:Less than 6″, 6-12″
Light:Full Sun
Propagation:Seed, Layering, Division & Stem Cuttings

Grasses & Ferns

Big Bluestem

When people think of big bluestem grass, they think of vast parries in the midwest. This grass will add color to your landscape year-round.

Genus Name:Andropogon gerardii
Features:Fall & Spring Blooms
Light:Full Sun
Propagation:Seed, Division

Foxtail Fern

Genus Name:Asparagus densiflorus
Features:Attracts Birds
Light:Full Sun
Propagation:Seed, Division

Maiden Grass

Genus Name:Miscanthus
Features:Summer & Fall Bloom, Colorful
Light:Part Sun, Full Sun
Propagation:Seed, Division

Mondo Grass 

Many gardeners use mondo grass as a drought-resistant turf replacement in shady areas.

Genus Name:Ophiopogon
Features:Summer Bloom
Height:Less than 6″, 6-12″, 1-3′
Light:Shade, Part Sun, Full Sun
Propagation:Seed, Division

If possible, move container plants out of direct sun during periods of extended dryness. Warm soil aids the evaporation process, so shading plants (i.e. keeping soil temperatures down) is an easy way to slow moisture evaporation. 

Glazed or nonporous pots will also help your plants survive droughts by preventing water evaporation through the container. The mass of a substantial pot will also help keep the soil cooler. 

Drought-Tolerant Plants For Beds 

Although the soil in garden beds will dry out less quickly than the soil in pots, you still need to make considerations for drought tolerance. You can move pots to shady positions, but once you’ve planted your beds those plants will have to endure any sun that shines on them. 

In addition to considering the position of your beds, also consider which flowers you plant. For the most part, any drought-tolerant flower you plant in a pot will also survive in a bed. (The same cannot always be said the other way around.) 


California Poppy

Genus Name:Eschscholzia californica
Features:Spring, Summer & Fall Blooms
Width:Up to 12″
Light:Full Sun


Genus Name:Cosmos
Features:Summer & Fall Blooms
Height:1-3′. 3-8′
Light:Full Sun

Sweet Alyssum

Genus Name:Lobularia maritima
Features:Spring, Summer & Fall Blooms
Height:1-6″, 6-12″
Light:Part Sun, Full Sun
Propagation:Stem Cuttings, Seed



Genus Name:Echinacea
Features:Summer & Fall Blooms
Light:Full Sun
Propagation:Seed, Division

Dusty Miller

Genus Name:Jacobaea maritima
Features: Fall Color
Height:6-12″, 1-3′
Light:Full Sun
Propagation:Stem Cuttings, Seed


Genus Name:Sedum
Features:Fall & Summer Blooms
Height:1-6″, 6-12″, 1-3′
Width:6″ to many feet
Light:Part Sun, Full Sun
Propagation:Stem Cuttings, Seed & Division

You can also plant herbs, grasses, and ferns in beds. Just keep in mind that some herbs (mint comes to mind) will spread prolifically if not contained within a pot. 

Drought-Tolerant Succulents

There is a reason succulents have skyrocketed in house-plant popularity. In addition to their cute and varied appearances, succulents thrive on little water. (In fact, too much water can ‘drown’ your succulent.) 

A quick scroll through an Instagram Influencer’s profile will show you succulents in attractive ceramic pots and elaborate macrame. However, you don’t need to confine your succulents to indoor gardens.

Here are some drought-tolerant succulents that work well as shrubs or ground cover. 



Genus Name:Agave
Features:Summer Blooms
Height:1-3′, 3-8′, 8-20′, 20′ or Larger
Light:Full Sun
Propagation:Seed & Division


Below is Aloe vera. Another excellent variety is Aloe Arborescens.

Genus Name:Aloe vera
Features:Drought Tolerant
Light:Full Sun

Jade Plant

Genus Name:Crassula
Features:Spring & Winter Blooms
Light:Full Sun
Propagation:Stem Cutting

Ground Cover

Lizard’s Tail

They are also known as Crassula muscosa.

Moss Rose

Genus Name:Portulaca spp.
Features:Summer & Fall Blooms
Height:Less Than 6″, 6-12″
Width:Up to 18″
Light:Full Sun
Propagation:Stem Cutting, Seed

Houseleek Sempervivums

In addition to their ability to tolerate dry weather, succulents also offer easy propagation – meaning you can take clippings from your flower beds to create a low-water indoor garden.   

Drought-Tolerant Shrubs

The key to successful shrub cultivation is to select shrubs based on specific growing areas. This selection pertains to your growing zone. But you should also base your decision on the soil quality and exposure of the precise location where you plan to plant your shrubs. (Also, be aware that many drought-tolerant shrubs are invasive plants.) 

Remember, even the most drought-tolerant shrubs require sufficient watering while establishing their root systems. But once they have formed mature root systems, shrubs such as the following will use water efficiently: 

  • Evergreen Shrubs: Adam’s Needle, Eastern Arborvitae, Evergreen Sumac, Juniper
  • Flowering Shrubs: Bougainvillea, Butterfly Bush, Cistus, Forsythia, Lilac

Popular Mediterranean herbs rosemary and lavender will grow to shrub size if given adequate room. When not contained by a pot, lavender can grow over two feet tall and four feet wide. At maturity, certain types of rosemary can reach a height of up to six feet and a spread of eight feet. So don’t be afraid to release these herbs from their pots!

Drought-Tolerant Trees

When correctly selected, trees are an excellent addition to a drought-tolerant garden. Once established in the ground, they will require watering much less frequently than a potted perennial. 

Choosing native trees will ensure that these new additions to your backyard are already suited to your region’s soil and climate. 

Also, look for small-leafed trees over large-leafed trees as smaller leaves aid trees in more efficient water usage. 

Here are a few favorites: 

  • Deciduous: Bald Cypress, Hackberry, Hickory, Oak, Paperbark Maple
  • Evergreen: Holly, Shortleaf Pine, Snow Gum, Virginia Pine

Generally, thin leaves allow evergreen trees to tolerate drought better than deciduous trees. However, this is not always the case, so check local recommendations before purchasing enough pines to form a small Christmas tree farm. 

How to Help Your Plants Survive With Minimal Water

Now that you’ve planted drought-tolerant plants, check out these additional tips for maintaining a garden with minimal water: 

  • Apply mulch to help keep the soil cool. A two- to three-inch layer on the soil’s surface will protect the roots of your plants from harsh sunlight and help the surrounding soil retain moisture. Mulch also prevents soil crusting. This prevention is a crucial benefit as soil crusting reduces water’s ability to penetrate soil down to the root system. Unlike sand or clay soils which reflect light and heat back up to surrounding plants, dark mulch with an uneven surface will limit reflectivity.  
  • Use organic matter to improve moisture availability (as well as soil drainage). Add organic matter to the soil before you plant drought-tolerant plants. 
  • Avoid fertilizer. Adding fertilizer to your soil will encourage plants to grow rapidly. This excess growth will require extra watering to prevent it from flopping in summer. It will also be more susceptible to frost in cold months. 
  • Plant small specimens early in the growing season. This advanced planting will allow your plants to acclimate to their environment over time. This gradual development will give them a better chance at defense when harsh conditions occur.
  • Weed your borders, beds, or pots. Although weeding by hand can be a literal chore, weeds suck up precious moisture (and nutrients) from your cultivated plants.
  • Shade plants that are more vulnerable to drought conditions. When planning your garden layout, try to place drought-tolerant plants in areas that receive the most sun and exposure.
  • Prune sparingly during a drought. (Pruning can encourage growth, requiring additional water usage.)

Additionally, try conserving rainwater. For those gardeners who are really dedicated to water conservation, keep a bucket near the shower to collect water as you wait for your shower to heat up. 

Top Tip: Avoid the temptation to water your lawn as this will consume huge amounts of water. If your lawn is established, its root system will help it survive droughts. Even grass that has turned yellow or brown will recover upon the next rainfall. 

Prioritize Your Watering 

Climate change is making droughts and record-breaking heat more common. To curb water usage during drive spells, some municipalities impose water-hose bans, mandatory water rationing, or water-wise landscaping incentives. 

Whether you want to maintain your garden within these limitations or just want to lower your home’s water bill, try to prioritize which plants you water (and how you water them). 

Especially if you water your garden with a hose, it can be tempting to water your garden indiscriminately. However, not all plants require the same amount of water. Creating a summer watering plan is another way to reduce water usage during hot months. 

Hint: The occasional thorough watering is more beneficial than a more frequent but less-thorough watering. 

Here’s a quick rundown of how often you should water certain plants during a drought: 

  • Once a Day: seedings, young plants, cuttings, anything not yet established
  • Once a Week: shallow-rooted plants 
  • Once Every Two Weeks: shallow-rooted shrubs
  • Do Not Water: mature shrubs, hedges, trees, lawns

Try to narrow your irrigation system so that you only water areas that require moisture. Sprinkler systems might be easier to use than a watering can, but they are highly inefficient – especially when compared to drip irrigation systems. 

If possible, water your plants in the early morning. This time will allow water to travel down to the roots before the sun heats the soil, hydrating them before the heat of the day. 

Particularly when using water sparingly, water plants at the base so that it will travel to the roots. Watering plants at the leaves will encourage evaporation before the water even reaches the roots. 


The video below will show you 50 more drought-tolerant landscaping ideas:

When In Doubt, Survive Drought By Keeping It Local

Selecting plants that are well-suited to your garden’s growing conditions is one of the best ways to make your garden more environmentally beneficial. Not only do native plants help the local ecosystem thrive, but they also tend to be drought-tolerant. 

Want to cultivate an attractive garden while also conserving water? Contact local universities or garden centers to learn about drought-tolerant plants native to your region. 

Rain Chains: What They Are + Why You Need One + How to Make Your Own

If you’re looking for an alternative to ugly downspouts, you might want to think about installing rain chains. Rain chains guide rainwater away from your house while also beautifying its exterior.  

Although they are a relatively recent trend in American housing design, Japanese architects have used rain chains since the late 1500s. Known in Japanese as kusari-doi, rain chains first appeared on Sukiya-style tea houses.

They gained popularity in the United States thanks to broadcasts of the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. 

Whether you want to revamp your house’s exterior design or improve its functionality, read on to learn why rain chains will make a great addition to your home gutter system. 

Purpose & Promise 

Rain chains provide an attractive and functional alternative to gutter downspouts. Although you can certainly use rain chains in addition to using downspouts, rain chains typically replace downspouts, hanging vertically down to a water catch. 

When it rains, water flows off the roof into your gutter system. It travels through the gutters toward the hole where the downspout used to be. The rain chain directs water away from the roof. Then, the water travels down the chain into a water catch or redirector. 

Design plus functionality sounds like a winning combination. But do rain chains actually work? 

Yes, rain chains work!

The design of rain chains relies on surface tension to guide water from the gutter to the ground. Rainwater flows down the roof and into the roof’s gutter system; the gutter funnels the water to a hole through which a rain chain hangs. Once the water begins to drain through this hole, it follows the path of least resistance (in other words, along the chain) down to the ground. 

Rain chains even work in areas that experience heavy rainfall. (Keep reading to learn which type of rain chain works best in wet regions.) 

Why Rain Chains?

bird on a rain chain

If you’re wondering why you would want to replace downspouts with rain chains, the simple answer is visual appeal. 

Downspouts are at best invisible and at worst an eyesore. Rain chains take the functionality of downspouts and add decorative flair. 

Unlike downspouts, which hide rushing water, rain chains transform cascading water into a kind of kinetic work of art. Available in many different designs, rain chains give you the ability to match a necessary architectural structure to the aesthetic of your house.

In addition to their visual appeal, rain chains provide aural ambiance on rainy days. When water travels down the rain chains, it produces a delicate tinkling sound similar to a bell or wind chime. This tinkling is a marked improvement over the irritating drip drip drip of downspouts. 

Rain chains also offer several practical advantages. When combined with rain barrels or similar vessels, rain chains can play a vital role in rainwater harvesting and water conservation. Additionally, rain chains help control drainage and reduce erosion.

Best of all, rain chains eliminate much of the upkeep associated with downspouts. Leaves and twigs that once would have clogged your downspout will pass your rain chain. In addition, standing water once hidden inside the curve of your downspout now drains appropriately. 

Types of Rain Chains

There are two types of rain chains: link-style and cup-style. Which kind you use depends on aesthetic preference and the amount of rainfall you typically receive. 


link style rain chain on frank lloyd wright cottage
Frank Lloyd Wright hated downspouts. This rain chain is installed on Seth Peterson’s cottage.

Traditional rain chains are a literal link of chains that hang vertically from your gutter. The individual links can take a variety of attractive shapes, from standard ovals and circles to rectangles, diamonds, and teardrops.


Japanese cup-style rain chain design

Cup-style rain chains work on the same design principle as link-style rain chains with the addition of small cups. Spaced at intervals down the chain, these cups help slow water flow as it travels to the bottom of the chain. 

The ‘cups’ can take various forms: open-mouthed bass, suns, spirals, lotus petals, umbrellas, and more — any attractive shape that will slow the cascade of water. As a variation on this theme, you can also find rain chains adorned with cascading leaves that slow the water as it travels to the ground. 

If you live in an area that experiences heavy rainfall or is prone to soil erosion, use cup-style rain chains rather than link-style. 


Rain chains are traditionally made of copper. If untreated, copper will oxidize and form a rustic green patina. (Copper alloys, brass, and bronze will also patinate over time.) 

If you prefer to avoid patination, purchase a rain chain made of rust-resistant metal such as aluminum or stainless steel. And if you prefer something colorful rather than metallic, you can purchase powder-coated rain chains. 

Heads Up: Avoid using lightweight metals such as aluminum when installing rain chains in windy areas. Instead, use a heavier material such as galvanized steel. 

At the Bottom of the Rain Chain

rain chain on a brick building

The primary purpose of a rain chain is to move water away from the foundation of your house. This means you need to think about where rainwater goes once it has traveled down the rain chain. 

At the bottom of the chain, you will need to position some type of rain catch to either collect or drain the rainwater.

Fortunately, you have many different options when it comes to catching rainwater. Read on to learn about the best options for water conservation.


A rain chain basin is a large cement or metal bowl that collects the water after traveling down the chain. You can also use a movable pot to use the collected rainwater to water your garden efficiently. 

When using basins, be sure you can easily drain or remove the collected water. (Standing water can attract mosquitoes. Overflowing water can contribute to soil erosion.) 

French Drain

A French drain is a large basin that catches rainwater and then drains it away from the house underground.

If your home gutter system already includes an underground drainpipe, you can leave this system in place; simply replace the downspout with a rain chain, and position the bottom of the rain chain at the top of the French drain. 

Rain Barrels 

rain barrels can be used with rain chains

Rain Barrels are your best option for water conservation. As the name suggests, rain barrels are barrels that collect rain. They typically contain a faucet or hose attachment. 

This allows you to use the (non-potable) water you’ve collected to wash your car, water your garden, or accomplish other outside chores. 

Plus, you can buy decorative rain barrels, so it’s quite possible to merge functionality with aesthetics once again! 

Dry Creek Bed

Dry creek beds are an excellent way to drain water away from your house in style! When there is good water flow you will have an amazing-looking stream. 

And when the weather is dry, the creek bed will add a more natural look to your yard. 

Pro Tip: Use some good-sized boulders and quality river rock. And, “less is more” with boulders.

Water Features

If you want to accentuate the rain chain’s visual appeal, consider placing a water feature at the bottom of your rain chain. 

Whether you prefer spinning mills or mini waterfalls, you can harness the power of the cascading water to create an aquatic spectacle. (Just ensure the water feature can be easily drained or emptied.) 


Prefabricated rain chains typically come with an installation kit that includes all the materials needed. 

Whether installing a chain you purchased or made, keep reading to learn how to install rain chains. 

1.) Identify a Location 

Choose a location for your rain chain. Typically, rain chains replace downspouts. However, you can also place rain chains where the gutter system already leaks. 

If your house does not have a gutter system, watch your roofline the next time it rains. Identify where water naturally concentrates – usually an area where roof lines come together. 

You can also inspect the ground immediately below the roof edge to spot areas of soil loss. Placing a rain chain above these areas can help reduce rainfall energy and thus reduce erosion. 

2.) Prepare the Hole

If you are replacing your downspouts with rain chains, disconnect the downspout from where it’s attached to the roof’s gutter system. 

This step should be pretty straightforward unless the screw heads have rusted.

If you want to install rain chains in addition to downspouts, you can clip a hole in your gutters to hang your rain chains through.

3.) Attach the Rain Chain Bracket

If you purchase a rain chain, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing the bracket, as attachment systems vary. 

In most cases, rain chains come with a V-shaped bracket. Set this bracket in the hole previously occupied by the downspout. 

The V should point down, with the tails catching on either side of the hole to keep it from falling through. 

After you have positioned the bracket, hook the first link of the chain around the dip in the V. 

4.) Install a Water Catch System

Select your water catch system: basin, rain barrel, French drain, or water feature. Place your water catcher at the bottom of your rain chain. 

If you’re using a rain barrel, make sure the rain chain rests just above the top of the barrel. 

Typically, their proximity to the house protects rain chains from the wind. However, if you live in an area that experiences high winds, anchor the rain chain to the ground or water catch. 

Consider surrounding the water catch system with ¾ inch drainage rocks. Rocks with rough edges will help prevent water from pooling if your water catch overflows.  

5.) Test the Rain Chain

After installing your rain chain:

  1. Test that the system works by spraying a hose on the roof of your house.
  2. Observe how water travels through the gutter system and down your rain chain.
  3. Make any adjustments to ensure water is draining away from the foundation of your house and not causing erosion. 

How to Make Your Own Rain Chain

making your own rain chains with standard chain

Making your rain chain allows you to customize the length and design of your newest home feature. For a low-effort rain chain, simply add a standard steel chain to the bracket described in Step 4. But if the industrial look doesn’t match your aesthetic, keep reading. 

1.) Create the Chain Links

You will need ¼ inch flexible copper tubing. A 5-foot chain requires 20 feet of tubing. 

Form the copper tubing into the chain links by wrapping it around a broom handle (or any slender round object measuring at least 1 ½ inches in diameter). Wrap the tubing as tightly as possible around the broom handle. 

Once you’ve coiled the entire length of tubing, remove the copper from the pole. 

2.) Cut the Links

Place the wound copper into a bench vice. Close the vice tight enough to hold the copper in place but not so tight that you distort the shape. 

Then, use a reciprocating saw to cut through the copper. (Make sure to use a blade specifically designed for cutting thin metal.) For increased stability, rest the saw’s bottom on the top of the vice. 

Pause sawing as needed to feed the uncut copper through the vice. Be careful not to cut through the bottom of the link. 

3.) Assemble the Chain 

If you have successfully cut the links, you should have a pile of small, individual copper rings with one slit cutting through each ring. These will form the links of your chain.

Select one of the copper rings. Then, use pliers to open the ring wide enough to fit another ring through the slit. 

Next, find a link whose ends are already well-aligned. Close the gap using groove joint pliers. Add this closed ring to your open ring. Close the open ring, again using groove joint pliers. This will form the beginning of your chain link. 

Select and open another copper ring. Add this ring to either end of your chain link. Repeat this process until you’ve reached your desired chain length. 

4.) Install the Chain

Prepare the hole in your gutter system where you will install your rain chain. 

Cut a 15-inch length of copper tubing. Bend the tubing into a V shape with serif-like ends. 

Pull the end of the chain through the gutter hole. Feed the V through the top link in the chain, then rest the chain in the hole so that the point of the V (which should be holding the chain) hangs through the hole. The ends of the V will hold it in place. 

Position your rain catch at the bottom of the rain chain, and wait for the rain to come!

If you want to create a cup-style rain chain, create decorative embellishments using copper sheet metal. Attach the embellishments to your rain chain using copper wire. 

These additions will help slow the water as it travels to the ground.  


Rain chains generally require less maintenance than downspouts. However, you will still need to check periodically that your rain chains are functioning correctly. 

Depending on the material of your rain chain, rain chains (plus rainwater) can add more weight to your house’s gutters than a downspout would. 

Check your roof structure and gutters for signs of stress, adding reinforcement where necessary. You can make this check twice a year when cleaning your gutters.

Examine the ground surrounding the chain for signs of standing water or erosion. You want to make sure that the water is draining correctly. 

If you see signs of erosion, add more drainage rocks or install a larger basin. If you see standing water, you will need to adjust to direct the water away from your house. 

At the end of autumn, remove rain chains before temperatures drop below freezing. The cold will not hurt the metal links, but any precipitation on the chain could turn to ice. 

Although interesting to look at, this ice will increase the chain’s weight – potentially straining your house’s gutter system. 

rain chain in winter


Rain chains are a functional and attractive alternative to downspouts. Want an eye-catching solution to water drainage? Consider using this centuries-old design to accent the architecture of your house. 

Purchase rain chains at most garden centers and nurseries. Many online retailers also specialize in rain chains. 

In terms of price, rain chains can range from $50 to $1000+. But really, can you put a price on the increased looks and never have to unclog a downspout?

Frequently Asked Questions

Does a rain chain work in heavy rain?

Yes, rain chains can work with heavy rain (design of chain factors into this as well). Although, the rain will bypass some of the chain and flow directly onto the ground. This should not be an issue if you have a proper design, such as a French drain that carries the water away from your foundation.

Does a rain chain need to be attached to a gutter?

Sure, you could use a rain chain without a gutter. It just needs a solid mounting point that can handle the load. 

Do rain chains cause flooding?

No, they do not cause flooding. In fact, they help slow down water. Which helps rainwater soak into the ground instead of the sewer systems. 

Is a rain chain better than gutters?

Every situation is different, and you need to design water management properly. But, a rain chain helps slow down water and look better than downspouts. 

Can you hang a rain chain from a tree?

You could install a rain chain on a tree or anywhere that can securely handle the load.

How much rain can a rain chain handle?

It’s not so much the chain but rather the basin that matters. Ensure the ground system can handle the amount of rain from your roof. And adequately drain water away from the foundation. While limiting splashing.

What do you do with rain chains in the winter?

You can leave rain chains installed in winter or take them down. The main concern will be added weight from freezing ice. This applies to the chain itself and the mounting material. 

Can you use a rain chain and downspout?

Yes, you could combine the two if you would like. Just ensure water drains properly.

Do rain chains need to be anchored at the bottom?

They are not required to be anchored, but it’s better. Bad storms usually bring high winds and could cause the chain to swing around. Potentially hitting your house or causing water to flow where it shouldn’t. 

Can I use regular chain for rain chain?

Sure, you can use a regular chain. Just know that different materials and designs will work differently. A cup-style chain will slow more water than a regular chain.


This article originally was published at and syndicated by

Rain Chains: How They Benefit Water

bird on a rain chain

Installing rain chains might be an attractive alternative to unsightly downspouts. Rain chains divert precipitation away from your home while also enhancing its appearance.

Rain chains have been employed by Japanese architects since the late 1500s, despite the fact that they are a relatively new trend in American building design. When they originally appeared on Sukiya-style teahouses, rain chains were referred to as kusari-doi.

Because of the coverage of the Winter Olympics in the city of Nagano, Japan during 1998, rain chains became popular in the United States.

For both aesthetic and functional reasons, rain chains may be a terrific addition to your gutter system, so read on to find out why.

Features and Uses

To avoid the unsightly appearance of gutter downspouts, use rain chains instead.

Downspouts can be used alongside rain chains, however, in most cases, rain chains hang vertically down to a water catch.

Gutters collect water from your roof during a rainstorm. You will find a hole where the downspout used to be, and it runs through the gutters toward it.

A rain chain is used to help slow water coming off of the roof. Chained to a water catch or redirector, water goes along its path in the chain.

The idea of combining aesthetics with practicality sounds like a winning formula. However, do rain chains really work?

Rain chains absolutely do work, there’s no doubt about that!

To move water from the gutter to the ground, rain chains use surface tension. There is a rain chain that hangs from a hole in a gutter system on the roof, which directs rainwater into the gutter system.

In other words, once the water starts flowing out of this hole, it will travel down the chain and eventually end up at ground level.

Even in locations that receive a lot of rain, rain chains still operate. (To find out which kind of rain chain works best in rainy areas, continue reading.)

Why Embrace Rain Chains?

link style rain chain

Why would you want to replace your gutters with rain chains? The simple explanation is that they’re more visually appealing.

At best, downspouts are unnoticeable; at worst, they’re an eyesore. Decorative rain chains enhance the practicality of downspouts.

As opposed to downspouts, rain chains make the sound of water flowing into a type of kinetic art. With a wide range of styles, rain chains allow you to fit the architectural structure of your home with its attractiveness.

Besides their aesthetic beauty, rain chains provide an acoustic ambiance on rainy days. Rain chains generate a beautiful tinkling sound, like a wind chime or a bell ringing. Over the unpleasant drip of downspouts, this tinkling is an improvement.

Furthermore, rain chains have a number of useful properties. To capture rainwater and conserve water, the use of rain chains in conjunction with barrels or other containers is quite beneficial. With rain chains, erosion is reduced and drainage is improved.

The best part is that rain chains take care of a lot of the maintenance that comes with downspouts. Your rain chain will wash away fallen leaves and twigs that used to obstruct your downspout. Now that the downspout curve has been opened, any previously trapped water may be easily drained.

Rain Chain Varieties

Both link-style and cup-style rain chains are accessible. It all comes down to personal choice and the quantity of rain you get on a regular basis.


cup style rain chain

Cup-style rain chains are similar to link-style rain chains in that they have little cups attached to them. These cups help tone down the movement of liquid as it descends to the bottom of the chain due to space at intervals down the chain.

The ‘cups can assume a number of forms: open-mouthed bass, spirals, suns, umbrellas, lotus petals and more — any beautiful design that would halt the stream of water. Rain chains embellished with cascading leaves are another variant on this motif that helps to delay the water’s descent to the earth.

In areas where rainfall is severe or soil erosion is a problem, utilize cup-style rain chains instead of link-style rain chains.


Traditional rain chains consist of a series of links suspended from your gutter in a vertical position. Individual links can be made in a range of forms, including ovals, circles, rectangles, diamonds, and teardrops, as well as the more traditional oval and circle.


Copper has long been the material of choice for rain chains. Copper will oxidize and develop a rustic green patina if left untreated. Patina will form on copper alloys such as brass and bronze, as well as on copper itself.

A rust-resistant metal rain chain, such as stainless steel or aluminum, is an option if you’d rather avoid patina. Alternatively, if you like a more vibrant look, you may get powder-coated rain chains.

When putting rain chains in windy places, avoid using aluminum, which is a lightweight metal. Instead, use galvanized steel, which is a heavier metal.

At the End of the Rain Chain

A rain chain’s primary function is to divert water away from the foundation of your home. As a result, you must consider what happens to rainfall after it travels through the rain chain.

Depending on how you intend to use the rainwater, you’ll need a rain catch at the bottom of the rain chain.

There are several ways to collect rainwater, which is a blessing. Read on to discover the best ways to conserve water.


After the water travels down the chain, it is collected in a huge cement or metal bowl. There are several ways to collect rainwater and use it in your garden, such as a mobile pot.

You should be able to drain or eliminate the water gathered in basins. (Mosquitoes are drawn to standing water.) Soil erosion can be exacerbated by overflowing water.)

French Drain

An underground French drain is a big basin that collects rainfall and then directs it away from the home. It’s possible to keep your home’s existing gutter system and only replace the downspout with a rain chain, putting the bottom of the rain chain on top of your French drain.

Barrels for collecting rainwater

Using rain barrels to conserve water is the greatest alternative available to you. Rain barrels, as the name implies, are barrels that hold rain. They frequently come with an attachment for attaching a faucet or hose. If you’ve gathered non-potable water, you may use it for things like washing your car, watering a garden, and so on.

There are also ornamental rain barrels, so you can combine use and beauty once again!

Water Features

At the bottom of your rain chain, you may add visual interest by incorporating a water element. You may use the falling water to your advantage by constructing spinning mills or small waterfalls. Make sure the water feature can be drained or flushed easily.


How creative! Check out this idea on how to make a rain chain using silverware. It doesn’t get any easier or inexpensive than that.

Wrapping Up

Downspouts may be unsightly and cumbersome, but rain chains are a great option. Looking for an eye-catching way to drain water? Make your home stand out by using this centuries-old style.

Most garden retailers and nurseries sell rain chains and they are being sold by a plethora of online businesses as well. Rain chains can cost as little as $50 to as much as $1000 or more.


Rain chains in Japan.

Biomimicry to Heal Water

As population growth increases and the pressures on our water supply increase, scientists are required to develop innovative and new ways to secure our nation’s precious natural resource. A new research discipline shows that the key to a viable survival strategy could be within nature.

BIOMIMICRY: Let nature build a better tommorow

Man has been studying the natural world for centuries. We first tried to control nature and hold it using our machines and structures. In many ways, we attempt to defend it from the same systems. However, our problems remain: billions of people worldwide are denied access to clean drinking water, while pollution threatens the water supplies of those with access.

The year 1997 was when US bioscientist Janine Benyus introduced the world to the concept of biomimicry. Since then, this new field has grown exponentially and leaps. Biomimicry can be described as the art of studying and replicating natural processes, forms, and ecosystems to overcome human design problems and develop environmentally sustainable designs.

Biomimicry reorients the world and asks us to think about what we can learn from nature and how we use that knowledge to incorporate it into our unique designs to imitate the creativity we see in nature.

There are three kinds of biomimicry: copying shape and form while another mimics an action, such as photosynthesis in a leaf. For example, the third mimics the level of ecosystems, like the construction of an urban environment inspired by nature.

The premise of nature is that imagining through necessity has solved a lot of the issues we’re currently battling. Microbes, plants, and animals are the ultimate scientists, engineers, physicists, and engineers. They have discovered what works, what’s appropriate, and, most importantly, the things that last on Earth.

Through looking at the examples of nature, we can create new and innovative solutions to engineering, design, and other problems we confront: in food production, energy, transportation, climate control, water supply, and much more. The goal for the Biomimicry Movement is the creation of organizations, products, processes, and policies that are new ways of living that are well-adapted to the earth’s environment in the long run. A key aspect to note about biomimicry is that it utilizes the principles of organisms, not microorganisms.


Recognizing the potentiality of this new science for waters as a whole, the Water Research Commission (WRC) began a five-year program to show the methodology of biomimicry in the South African setting. The project, led in partnership with Golder Associates Africa, together with the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and the University of the Witwatersrand and biomimicrySA, is expected to be completed by the end of next year.

We have always been thinking linearly when trying to solve our water-related problems. Consider the typical wastewater treatment chain where wastewater flows via concrete structure, it is processed, and then it flows out, as explained by WRC Research Manager Dr. Valerie Naidoo. “The biomimicry method requires us to think more three-dimensionally. Instead of fighting nature, we now look to it for ideas and using nature’s inherent principles to find solutions to our problems.”

Being the first time that the WRC has ventured into this area; the research is solely focused on biomimicry and wetlands design. Researchers seek natural resources for new ways to improve wetlands’ functioning and restore existing wetlands. “Wetlands are natural filters that remove pollutants from the water that flows through them. The economic benefit from this filtering process is huge, which reduces the price associated with downstream (potentially high energy) treatment systems as well as water purification” Dr. Naidoo. If it is successful, the method can be applied to other systems and processes when it is appropriate.

The research aims to harness the wisdom of nature cleanses water to engineer-designed wetlands that can meet the demands of current as well as emerging pathogens, pollutants, and pollutants. The project’s core team includes scientists and engineers with experience in various fields. Through the course of the project, experts have been invited to participate in seminars and workshops to integrate their knowledge and present a new method of designing constructed wetlands to treat water.

“This project is exciting because it’s not a simple method to implement. Researchers are being asked to abandon thinking of innovation through a conventional manner and to enter the multidisciplinary, creative environment,” says Dr. Naidoo. “This project is only the start of what we hope will be a new wave of creativity to enter the South African water space.”

So far, the team has experienced mixed reactions from friends; some scientists aren’t keen on changing their usual approach to thinking, while others are considering the possibilities of biomimicry. Perhaps the actual value of biomimicry won’t solve problems of the water sector but aid in economic development and the knowledge economy by creating new methods and products for the market.

What is Stormwater & How do we Manage it?

What is Stormwater?

Stormwater can be defined as precipitation, such as rain, snow, and sleet. Only a tiny percentage of stormwater becomes surface runoff in a natural setting. However, as development takes place, this percentage grows. This runoff flows into the nearest stream or creek, river, lake, or wetland.

What is Stormwater Management?

Stormwater management is the management of this surface runoff. Land development leads to a significant increase in runoff volume and frequency. The construction of impervious surfaces such as roads, parking lots, roofs, and storm sewer pipes, which efficiently collect and discharge stormwater runoff, helps prevent rainwater infiltration. Stormwater runoff must be managed to offset the potential impacts of impervious surfaces, including decreased groundwater recharge and increased frequency of flooding. Non-point source pollution is also a significant cause of stream impairment.

This management reduces flooding damage to property and people and helps prevent polluted runoff from affecting local waterways. Impervious surfaces disrupt the natural hydrologic cycle, causing less infiltration, interception, and evapotranspiration than before any development was made. The stormwater flow rate and volume produced by impervious surfaces have increased significantly. This stormwater runoff substantially contributes to flooding, sediment deposition, erosion, non-point source pollution, and stream channel instability.

Stormwater should not be considered a resource but has benefits like groundwater recharge. This maintains streams’ flows.

Stormwater management can also help reduce the severity and frequency of flooding. Stormwater management is a traditional method that uses surface runoff to divert it to a detention pool, which stores the water and releases it over time. This allows water to be returned to the groundwater at a higher volume and more extended. However, this does not always solve the problem but may lead to another. Stormwater can be recharged into groundwater to protect it from flooding and erosion.

Stormwater Runoff: Common Source Pollution


  • The most significant pollutant load is associated with sediment
  • Stormwater runoff in urban settings The loadings are exceptional.
  • Construction activity that does not have erosion controls can cause high levels.
  • Sediment can increase turbidity and harm aquatic and benthic habitats.
  • Reduces the impoundment capacity
  • Many other pollutants attach to and are carried by the body.
  • Sediment particles. Nutrients
  • Stormwater runoff contains phosphorus, nitrogen, and other nutrients.
  • Nutrient loads in surface waters can cause heavy algae growth, especially in impoundments, and low dissolved oxygen.
  • The urban system is contaminated by runoff from fertilizers for lawns and gardens (commercial and residential), leaks from septic systems and sanitary sewers, as well as animal wastes.
  • Organic Matter
  • Stormwater may carry various forms of organic matter in urban stormwater areas-organisms decompose this material in surface water.
  • Depletes oxygen levels.
  • Water quality and life are severely affected by low levels of dissolved oxygen in surface waters
  • Organic matter can be found in leaking septic systems and garbage, yard waste


Leakage of sanitary facilities can lead to high bacterial levels in stormwater runoff.

Systems, garbage, and animal waste

  • Surface water contamination can affect aquatic life and recreational activities and pose health risks. Oil and Grease
  • Stormwater can transport oil, grease, fuels, and lubricating substances from leaks or spills.
  • The level of pollutants in the water bodies adjacent to it is affected by the intensity of urban activities such as vehicle traffic and maintenance, fueling, and manufacturing activities.

Toxic Substances

  • Metals are toxic substances that can be found in urban stormwater.
  • Pesticides, herbicides, and hydrocarbons.
  • Toxic chemicals affect biological systems and accumulate at the bottom
  • Sediments of surface waters Heavy Metals
  • Urban stormwater runoff contains metals like copper, lead, zinc, arsenic, and chromium.
  • Stormwater metals can be toxic to some aquatic species and accumulate in aquatic marine animals.
  • Stormwater can be found in automobiles, paints, and preservatives in urban areas.


  • Stormwater runoff rises in temperature when it flows over impervious surfaces
  • Water stored in shallow, unshaded ponds is another option.
  • Temperature increases when there are impoundments.
  • The tree canopy can be removed to create water bodies that absorb solar energy.


  • Higher water temperatures can impact the water body’s ability to support certain fish and other aquatic organisms are at risk due to low dissolved oxygen levels.

Local communities also benefit from stormwater management. Facilities that are properly maintained can help reduce the costs of stream channel restoration and pollution mitigation. Stormwater drop inlets and culverts can be clogged with sediment and debris from runoff. These structures can be expensive to maintain, but stormwater management can help reduce these costs.


Stormwater reduction is an effective way property owners can help their community. Homeowners and businesses can use stormwater for other purposes by capturing it or using it to capture it. There are many ways to reduce stormwater runoff.

Rain barrels can be an effective and straightforward way to reduce stormwater runoff. Rain barrels are containers that collect rooftop runoff from buildings or houses. Any stormwater that falls from a roof or gutter will be compiled into the container (for a more attractive option use a rain chain). It can then be stored until it is ready to use. Water from the rain barrel can water plants, wash windows or cars, or even fill a swimming pool.

Vegetated roofs are another option that can be used to reduce stormwater runoff from a home or building. Vegetated roofs are made up of a waterproof membrane, or liner, on top. The soil or growth medium is then placed on top. Finally, the liner is seeded with grasses and other aquatic pond plants. You can make vegetated roofs more complicated by adding insulation or a piping system. If there is a significant amount of precipitation, the piping system may be required. In this case, the piping will transport the water to another collection system. Vegetative roofs enable vegetation to use the rainwater and reduce or eliminate stormwater from the shelter.


Stormwater runoff can be reduced by using best practices in restoration. Reclamation of disturbed sites to create natural landscapes is one example of best practices in stormwater management. These best practices include the use of riparian buffers and proper forest management.

Riparian buffers can be found around bodies of water or near them that act as buffers and cushions. Development may reach the edges of streams, rivers, or lakes in certain areas. Stormwater runoff directly into the waterway is causing this development to impact it. To provide a buffer for the waterwaywatercourse, riparian buffers can be restored to filter pollutants from stormwater before they reach the waterway channel. Riparian buffers can also stabilize streams and lakeshores and reduce erosion potential.

Planning and implementation are essential to good forest and land management practices that reduce stormwater runoff. Sometimes clearing a forest is necessary to accomplish specific goals. However, stormwater runoff increases from areas where the vegetation has been cleared. Stormwater runoff can be reduced or minimized using best practices like silt fencing and soil berms. Barren areas should be planted with vegetation that can grow in the current landscape conditions. The more vegetation established, the more significant the stormwater runoff reduction.

What is a Flowform?

If you are wondering what a Flowform is… don’t worry. You’re not alone.

This website will aim to fully explain the concepts by looking at the past and future.

John Wilkes is the mastermind behind the Flowform technology. John looked to nature and mathematics for natural rhythmic pulses.

Using biomimicry, John could inject rhythm into the water to increase its capacity to support life.

Flowform vessels allow water to flow through them in a sustained, rhythmic flow. This is due to the vessel’s shape.

The Flowforms’ shaped surfaces act as a sympathetic force on the water inside them, creating swinging or pulsing motions. Even though water flows in a steady stream, this happens. This process can be described as creating rhythmic air movement and thus the sound in a wind instrument. These forms are often developed through a lot of experimentation. Each flowform design may require months to perfect. It’s like tuning an instrument.

There are many options for expressing rhythmic flow. This spectrum has been explored in many different ways. Some are very elegant and pleasing artistically, others more functional. The Flowform work is viewed from the artistic side as the unfolding of this series of water sculptures that embody the same idea aesthetically.

FlowForm Applications

Possible Flowform applications include:

  • Biological sewage disposal
  • Municipal swimming pool features
  • School landscape features
  • Public parks
  • City center installations
  • Atriums
  • Patios
  • Public sculpture
  • Bird sanctuary
  • Private gardens
  • Drinking water treatment
  • Irrigation
  • Food processing
  • Farm slurry treatment
  • Germination
  • Therapy baths
  • Hotel features
  • Fruit juice treatments
  • Cattle drinking water
  • Fish breeding

So as you can see after reading the list above, the uses for Flowforms is long and only growing over time. If you’re intrigued, keep checking back as we add more articles on John Wilkes and his amazing work.

View a Flowform in Action

Sometimes it is best to see an unfamiliar concept rather than explain it. Check out the video below to see what a Flowform looks like in action.

This phenomenon was discovered over 40 years ago. Since then, many designs have been developed. Flow forms have delicate water movements, which can be used in small enclosed spaces. However, large shapes also move vigorously and liven up large open areas. Some movements evoke a heartbeat while others resemble slow ‘breathing.’ Some produce a musical tinkling, while others make waves that lap on the shoreline. These abilities have been beneficial in school settings and therapeutic situations.

The book below by John Wilkes will explain this concept more fully:

John Wilkes (1930-2011).

He studied sculpture at The Royal College of Art, London. He also met George Adam (and Theodor Schwenk) during this time. Wilkes was a member of Adams and Schwenk at Germany’s Institute for Flow Sciences. He began to study the flow and rhythms of water and eventually created the Flowform. Wilkes was also a researcher and restorer of Rudolf Steiner’s architectural and sculptural models at Emerson College. He was also the Director at the Virbela Rhythm Research Institute.