We've long had a problem with water and ice on our front landing. In the winter, snow on the roof will melt during the day and run off, forming a sheet of thick, hard-to-remove ice below. I had always planned at some point to add gutters to the front of the house, primarily for the purpose of rain catchment, but because the overhang is actually lower than the eaves, it wasn't going to be an easy solution to direct the water without creating unsightly gutter and downspout lines everywhere.
My solution was to create a gutter for just the overhang, and direct the water down a rain chain, shown here during a recent shower:
But the problem didn't stop there, since a pool of water on the steps could cause just as much trouble in freezing weather as on the landing. So the rain chain feeds water into the blue pot, into which I cut a hole and installed some copper pipe I had lying around, just waiting to be used on a project like this pipe. (Edited to add this information: To drill the hole I used a diamond saw bit you can find in the tile section of a hardware store; these are used to cut holes for plumbing in tiled shower stalls. This bit came with the gray dam you see taped to the pot. The dam is filled with water to keep the bit cool as you cut.):
The pipe is secured to the pot with silicone caulk. I have not completely covered the hole that was in the bottom of the
blue pot, which allows standing water to leak out slowly, eliminating
the possibility of mosquitoes breeding there. You can see it working here during the rain:
The pipe then carries the water into one of the xeric beds. It is pretty unobstrusive, but even if it weren't I like the thought of a water-carrying pipe running through a xeric garden. It evokes the historic spirit of desert people, moving water through an arid land:
Et voila. I love a good engineering project.