Going with the flow

Going with the flow

A combination of features, including the right planting, can design flood resistance into your garden

As the winter months approach, many will be wondering how increased rainfall will affect their gardens. The good news is that there are plenty of things that gardeners can do to incorporate some resilience and there’s advice available from local experts too.

Rainwater capture

“Capture of rainwater is one option,” explains Phil. “Rapid run-off from hard surfaces adds to flooding problems but features can be created to capture rainwater and then store it or slowly release it back into the soil or drainage. Examples include creating ‘rain garden’ beds within a paved area or developing a ‘wildroof’ of plants and grasses on a building.”

Planting elsewhere also helps as Liz explains: “Developing wet soil planting – known as a bog garden - where there is run-off from a roof or paving can hold that water in the soil. Iris, hostas and astilbes are traditional options but I’ve also used primula florindae, lythrum salicaria ‘beacon’ and persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Orange Field’. Dogwoods and willow give the added benefit of winter colour – try salix alba ‘Hutchinsons Yellow’ for an extra glow.”

A final option is to drain rainfall into one particular area of the garden. “We recently made a local stone ‘dry river bed’ to direct flood water around a property and control its flow,” says Liz. “That river bed was in full flow this summer (see picture below) and saved the garden from flooding.”

Let’s hope that our gardens get the rain they need this winter but not too much. And, if we get storms, remember that good design could improve your garden’s resilience for decades to come.