Flood Re

Discover more about the organisation behind the Flood Re: The Flood Resilient Garden at RHS Chelsea 2024

Flood Re
There are already five million homes in the UK at risk of flooding. Flood Re aim to improve the understanding of the risks of flooding, and the simple, affordable things that gardeners can do to reduce the impact, harnessing water as a resource and adapting their garden to cope with challenges to come while still having a beautiful space.

Flooding events are increasing

Our gardens can help prevent flooding disaster. Properly managed, domestic gardens can channel, absorb and store large quantities of water, which helps protect your home. This means that the risk to buildings and property is mitigated, the risk of localised and downstream flooding is reduced as well. If flood resilient features and water storage capacity were to become a feature of most gardens in a neighbourhood, the positive aggregate effect would be enormous.

A flood resilient garden can save money and carbon

Recent statistics show that homes are increasingly vulnerable to flooding, with 1 in 4 homes at risk. Gardens are not just a cherished personal space, they are also an investment with British people reportedly spending an estimated £18.6 billion on gardens in 2021, (Statista), of which £1.4 billion is spent on plants. (Garden Retail Market Analysis Report). Creating a garden design that is less vulnerable to flooding means that there may be less need to replace expensive plants and features, with the expense and embodied carbon that that represents.

Carry on gardening, whatever the weather

A garden that ‘makes space for water’ and ‘slows the flow’ is less likely to become inundated in heavy rain or with surface water. Capturing the water locally and creating raised refuges means that the garden can remain beautiful and usable even during and after a flood event, and provide a vital haven in these stressful circumstances.

Flood resilient thinking benefits gardeners

Encouraging the water to penetrate the soil, while also creating reservoirs for later use and good soil management, with lots of organic matter added, not only captures carbon, but encourages deep penetration of water into the ground, where the roots can access it. Soil that remains moist is easier to re-wet and a more effective water-sink than dry ground, where the water just runs off. There is also the knock-on effect of drought resilience, as water is stored in the ground and additional water reserves are available through use of tanks as water features.

Stand up to flood risk with the right plants, planted well

Good horticulture is at core of the Flood Re: The Flood Resilient Garden Good soil management; creating slopes and mounds of added drainage; right plant right place is key to help the garden bounce back; pay attention to cultivars and rootstocks; good gardening saves the day. Using hardy, resilient native plants to help engineer solutions to garden flooding, in a functional and attractive nod to rewilding.

Modern technology to the rescue

A typical house can receive around 1,000-2,000 litres of rainwater in an extreme rainfall event. Managing this and releasing it slowly is needed for us to implement resilient gardens of the future, and with an estimated cost of over £500bn for the UK to upgrade its ageing rain and wastewater infrastructure, keeping water out of the drains is essential. The Flood Resilient Garden combines practical low-tech approaches to zoning the garden to slow the flow and make space for water, along with cutting edge technology such as slow release smart-water butts. Our installation will include monitoring and control systems, designed to handle rainfall during extreme storms and which can be managed automatically or remotely.

Wildlife: The forgotten victims of flooding

The area of gardens in the UK is almost five times that of nature reserves, making gardens hugely valuable to wildlife. Acknowledging that gardens are part of a bigger ecosystem, the Flood Re: The Flood Resilient Garden contains a mosaic of habitats designed to encourage a range of wildlife, and incorporates features such as elevated nesting spaces, and a log ladder, to provide refuges and escape routes to higher ground, since, if it survives the deluge, wildlife from worms and beetle larvae to hedgehogs and ladybirds, will return and contribute to the garden’s recovery.

Grow your own - safely

Surface water flooding can pick up chemicals, sewage and oil, so if the garden is at risk it is wise to elevate food crops so that they are out of harm's way, using raised beds, hanging baskets or wall-mounted planters.

About Flood Re

Flood Re is a re-insurance Scheme that makes flood cover more widely available and affordable as part of home insurance policies. Flood Re helps households at the highest risk of flooding, but has a limited 25 year lifespan (until 2039). The Scheme also provides information about taking action to reduce flood risk.
Flood Re does not set consumer prices – this remains a decision for insurers to make. Insurers can place the flood risk element of domestic property insurance with Flood Re at a premium linked to property Council Tax bands. Flood Re sits in the background, with the purchase of the policy and the process of making a claim being unchanged.
The scheme launched on 4 April 2016 as an independent body that is privately owned and operated, whilst also being publicly accountable. Insurers use Flood Re to benefit their customers.


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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.