It’s no secret that rain can come down quickly or at times not at all, which is why it’s important to have a rain gauge in the garden or yard. In this article, we will be going over the best place to put a rain gauge in your yard or garden. Before we dive into the nuts and bolts of location it’s important to mention the benefits of having a rain gauge at your home to start with.
For a start, a rain gauge can help you identify if your garden or yard is getting enough or too much water, to begin with. Both can be detrimental to the overall health and yield. Nothing can replace having exact rainfall totals at your location to make those determinations.
The official government weather instruments may be miles from your home and really do not help you when it’s time to turn on sprinklers. How many times has it poured at your office or school only to find that it did not rain at all when you returned home.
Before we look at the best place for a rain gauge we need to briefly discuss various types of rain gauges. They come in many sizes and capabilities.
Types of Home Rain Gauges
Each type of rain gauge collects rainfall data in a slightly different way. The two most common types are
1) The standard analog rain gauge can be a funnel-shaped device that collects rainfall as it comes down through a funnel. The funnel is usually made of rubber or plastic, with a tapered design that allows for the gradual expansion of the funnel as it fills with more and more rain. This funnel is connected to a graduated cylinder, and as the water collects, it rises in the cylinder, allowing you to get a measurement of the rainfall. This can be a very accurate rain gauge but must be emptied manually which can be time-consuming along with logging data.
The wireless rain gauges are more set and forget it, they collect rain in a self-emptying bucket, once it starts to collect data it transmits information to a unit inside the home. They may provide ease of use as well as historical records stored in an app. This is really handy for spotting trends.
Off The Ground
One of the first things you need to consider when mounting your rain gauge is it needs to be a minimum of two feet off the ground. Installing above the ground at the proper distance will prevent rain from splashing up and inadvertently putting more water in your gauge than what’s fallen. When mounting it above the ground, you should pay particular attention that it will not tip over easily in solid winds.
A couple of methods for mounting a rain gauge to keep it off the ground are either on a pipe or possibly a fence post. The first method of installing on a pipe is to secure it in concrete so that a strong wind cannot tip the rain gauge to one side. Often fence or deck post is more than adequate so long it’s in an open space, which will get into that shortly.
Stay Away from Obstructions
When deciding on a location, the next critical aspect is to put your gauge so that it’s free from obstructions. Mounting too close to objects such as your roof, trees, or buildings can cause inaccurate readings from your rain gauge. Any obstacles that can cause water from entering the rain gauge are something you want to avoid.
Also, consider the future growth of trees or shrubberies that might not be obstructing now but might be after developing tree limbs in the future. The ideal location would be at a corner of your garden, deck, or yard that is free from excessive wind and any obstacles that might interfere with a collection of rainwater.
Keep it Level
Another aspect of installing your rain gauge that is often overlooked regardless of your install method is its level. In both the funnel or the tipping bucket collection, it will give you inaccurate readings if it is not level. Periodically it would be best to put a level on your rain gauge bucket to make sure it has not shifted.
In my first collection location, I discovered that it was pretty windy, so consequently, over time, it was causing my rain gauge to lean and not be level. I started noticing collection totals dropping until I discovered the problem. Now every so often, I will go and make sure that it’s correct.
In this article, we have outlined the best place for a rain gauge in your yard or garden. The most common types of rain gauges are
2) wireless rain gauges.
Both have their advantages and disadvantages. If using an analog rain gauge, it’s helpful to have a funnel-shaped device that collects rainfall as it comes down through a funnel connected to a graduated cylinder, because they allow you to get accurate data.
Having a properly functioning gauge gives you more information at your location rather than relying on government weather instruments miles away.
Other considerations for mounting your rain gauge are to keep it at least two feet off the ground and it is not obstructed by trees or buildings free from excessive wind and lastly making sure it is level so there are no skewed readings.