Join the RHS today and support our charity
Free personalised gardening advice
RHS members get reduced ticket prices
RHS members get free access to RHS Gardens
Reduced prices on RHS Garden courses and workshops
020 3176 5800
Mon – Fri | 9am – 5pm
Make a donation
I have forgotten my password
Keep me signed in
Register for free to receive our newsletters, add comments to blogs/articles and to save content.
See what events are on near you and browse your bookmarked pages.
Don’t miss out - book in advance and save
Do driveways cause flooding? Heavy rain events have shown that paving over gardens is a major factor in causing severe flooding. In 2007 alone, the associated damage was £3billion in the UK. Laws are now in place that require most non-permeable, traditional driveways to have planning permission - whether new or replacement. So here is our guide on how to reduce paving and increase planting.
By ensuring front gardens contain a balance of hard landscaping andplants, we can:
Getting a parking space into the front garden and managing to keep some greenery can seem tricky, so here are some simple design solutions for gardens large or small.
If you need to park outside your house, the most logical solution is to pave over the garden. This is certainly a practical option, but with a bit of imagination you can combine paving with an attractive and welcoming garden. And by using materials that allow rainwater to penetrate the ground below, the hard surfaces you do install will shed less water that could otherwise contribute to flooding.
Begin by taking a close look at your front garden.
With the answers to these questions, you can create a design that minimises paving and maximises planting and permeable surfaces. To show how this works in practice, look at the following three examples. The ideas can be used in just about any front garden.
We've put together the snaps of our favourite front gardens: design inspiration on our additional webpage. And check out our front gardens: planting for what to grow.
Designing your own garden can be fun and a creative outlet. However, if you would prefer to use a professional designer to plan your front garden, contact the Society of Garden Designers.
To find garden landscapers to do the work, see our Gardening Organisations page (see Garden Landscapers section). For advice on getting the right people to do the job, see our Hiring Contractors page.
If the car is moved fairly regularly, then there are plants you can grow that will tolerate being parked over. These need to be low-growing so the car does not brush them, and tough enough to withstand the occasional running over. Try creeping jenny (Lysimachia nummularia), bugle (Ajuga reptans) and thymes such as Thymus serpyllum. Just leave planting pockets in the paving or gravel to ensure there is soil for them to grow in, rather than hardcore or a bed of concrete.
For more ideas, see pp10-11 of the RHS Front Gardens booklet.
As well as choosing a car for all the traditional reasons, make sure it fits on your driveway. An unnecessarily large car in a small garden will stick out on to the pavement, looking ungainly and presenting a hazard to pedestrians. Where possible, consider a smaller car in a sympathetic shade. Make sure you can safely manoeuvre it into the front garden, install mirrors in blind spots and cut sloping corners on boundary hedges.
Crazy Paving: The environmental importance of London’s front gardens (London Assembly) Ealing Front Gardens Project Front gardens: design inspirationFront gardens: permeable pavingFront gardens: plantingGuidance on the permeable surfacing of front gardens Green roofsGreen walls43 reasons not to paveHow to green your grey front gardenPlanning Portal: Paving your Front Garden RHS Front Gardens GuideRHS Gardening Matters: Front GardensRHS Gardening in a changing world
the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9
RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.
Register for the site or sign in to share your experiences on this topic and seek advice from our community of gardeners.
Neil Stillwell on 29/06/2015
Any ideas for an east facing 10 metre x 1metre plot with pot planting for disabled (with some knowledge) gardener to plant & let grow.
We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.
Join the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9