Earlier, I wrote about creating a memorial garden. Another option for remembrance is the bell, traditionally used in churches. Since a bell requires some force to create a sound, a wind chime can be the perfect remembrance in your garden. Here are seven steps for choosing and placing the perfect wind chime.
1. Where is the breeze?
For a wind chime to work, you need wind. Even if you live in a naturally windy location, there are eddies and swirls of air movement around your home. Try using a hooked pole designed for hanging baskets of flowers to test the breeze in different locations at different times of day. Before you purchase the wind chime, you can use a scarf or other lightweight cloth to confirm where regular breezes occur.
2. Where will the wind chime be hung?
Choose where you’ll be when you hear the chime. You may want the chime hung in a tree near the end of the patio to charm your afternoon relaxation. Or you could hang the chime on a post at the far end of a garden path to beguile you into strolling there. Or you might choose to place the chime outside the kitchen window to enjoy while cooking. Consider the volume of sound that’s enjoyable to you as part of the chime’s placement, so it’s not too loud or too soft for pleasure.
3. What type of sound do you want?
Wind chimes are made from many material. Triangular brass or bronze storm bells used in coastal areas are available everywhere and sound a single warning bong, no matter which side of the bell the striker hits. Chimes created from tubular metal such as conduit can be the same length for a single resonant note or cut to varying lengths to ring in harmony no matter which tube is struck. Other materials result in chimes that clatter. Bamboo or shells clack, and glass chimes tinkle.
4. What’s the best tone?
Metal chimes resonant strongly and can carry sound into your house or to neighbors. Listen to the chime options for several minutes, beyond just one shake of the striker in a store display. How long can you stand to listen to a certain pitch? You may prefer deep tones or a chime that’s highly pitched. And do consider neighbors who live nearby. Test whether your chime be heard in their homes in an annoying way when they are sleeping. You may want to put the chime on a pulley so you can remove or wrap the striker in storms or at night.
5. What’s the best way to catch the wind?
The striker for a wind chime is key to successful creation of sound. The wind won’t be there to grab the striker and send it knocking against the bells, shells or tubes in the garden the way you’ll likely to test it in a store. If your chime doesn’t ring as often as you’d hoped once you get it hung, evaluate the striker. If necessary, replace it with a lighter, larger one that’s more capable of catching every small breeze that wafts around the chime. Thin metal or very lightweight wood are good solutions.
6. More than one chime?
If you spend much time in your Elderyard®, you may have preferred locations – maybe the porch in the morning while you drink your coffee and a bench in the sun for resting in-between periods of weeding or pruning in the flower beds. It’s OK to have more than one wind chime, even chimes of different types with different purposes. Check to see how they will sound together when there’s a strong wind, then plan to enjoy their quieter tones chime by chime as you move around the garden.
7. What about maintenance?
Do plan for wind chime care. Because chimes are designed to move, friction will deconstruct even the best built chime over time. Back-and-forth movement can cause a striker’s chain or cord to break, or even separate the tubes or shells in a multi-part chime. Be prepared to replace the hanging hook, buy new chain, or re-thread a chime’s parts so you can continue to enjoy your chime for your garden’s lifetime.
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