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  • Writer's pictureSarah Kay

How can my garden help reduce flooding in my area?

A report this week from the National Infrastructure Commission found that 600,000 homes in England are at risk from flooding. However there are some simple changes that you can make to your gardens to help mitigate this risk.

  1. Increased planting

Gardens with a higher percentage of planting vs hard landscaping are much more effective at water management, as well as the additional benefits to biodiversity and air quality. Increase the size of planting beds in your garden where possible.

2. Take up the paving

Removing paving or breaking up concrete is one of the key things homeowners can do to improve the absorption of rainwater, as these surface are non permeable. Replace these areas with a permeable surface such as gravel or clay pavers or even planting. Even just take up a few pavers can make a big difference. Permitted development legislation in 2008 means that planning permission is required for front gardens with more than 5m2 of paving so replace this with planting beds or gravel to stay SUDS compliant (Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems) and ensure that rainwater is managed in your own garden, and not directed into overloaded sewage systems.

3. Rain Gardens

Rain gardens embrace the increased rain water by employing methods which use and direct the water to irrigate the garden and ensure that it is dissipated slowly into the ground. Rain water from the downpipe is directed into planters or ditches containing rain tolerant plants and released slowly into the ground. Swales are shallow ditches along contour lines with infiltrate the rain water into the earth and can be used in conjunction with Berms which are planted earth banks adjacent to a swale. If possible look to include a water butt to collect rainwater. The exampe above shows a water butt/planter which not only looks good but allows for planting in the top.

4. Use a garden designer

If you are looking to to improve your outside space consider commissioning a garden designer to help you with this. A garden designer will always consider water management and drainage when designing a garden and will also look to have the maximum amount of planting whilst still fulfilling their clients needs for dining space, seating etc. A well designed garden will ensure that any paved areas are sloped correctly to allow rainwater to drain into the soil and will make any recommendations if there are drainage issues with your existing soils. A garden designer will also be able to make material suggestions which look good and are permeable. When sourcing a designer look for one who builds sustainable gardens and recognises the threat of flooding and designs gardens which embrace solutions to this issue. To book a consultation for your 2023 project contact me.

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