Posted by: waterworks | May 21, 2008

31. When Chelsea Flower Show lessens flood risk

The UK’s annual Chelsea Flower Show (CFS) is doing its bit for flood damage limitation.  Too many lawns, it seems, have falling foul of a popular fashion for paving and decking – thanks to a hydrologically disastrous decade of TV garden makeover shows championing all surfaces impermeable.  CFS is therefore promoting a fresh paradigm for landscape gardening that is far more sensitive to the twin bedevilments of urban flooding and (as sure as day follows night) urban drought.  A new template for water-conscious garden design called Urban Rain has been unveiled at Chelsea.  It comes well ahead of planned legislation for the autumn which will leave British home-owners in need of local authority consent when paving over existing gardens with non-permeable materials, such as stone tiles.  However, use of semi-permeable surfacing will be permitted without any of the tedious clerical bottlenecking that is usually synonymous with the dreaded phrase “planning application”.

Rightly recognising the benefits accruing to homeowners from avoiding all forms of potential interaction with their local government, the Urban Rain designers have wisely promoted deployment of a permeable surface that can accommodate a scooter or small car but which does not need planning consent.  The blueprint also diverts rainwater from the porch for irrigation purposes and has a number of special compartments, all under cover of a rather smart porch, which are intended to house the proliferating number of different recycling bins that modern families are now required to upkeep.  According to James Doyle, Urban Rain project manager: “We are saying a garden can look fantastic, be porous and hide the wheelie bins.”  The overall theme is one of “structured informality mixing tints of brown, orange, purple, cream and white with harmonising greens” and can be viewed here.



  1. […] Waterworlds has this interesting post from the Chelsea flower show: […]

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