Flood Re: The Flood Resilient Garden

Sanctuary Gardens

The garden is designed to be a relatable, enjoyable and beautiful space, and to help reduce flood risk and to recover quickly after periods of heavy rainfall.
Dense planting slows the flow, while water is also captured and stored for later use. After heavy rain, the elevated deck and mound – linked by a bridge over a central swale – provide both habitable places for people, and well-drained soil for the plants that need it.
The swale forms a stream, channelling rainwater into a feature pond where it can gradually soak away, while large tanks double as ornamental ponds which store water for later use, and can be discharged ahead of further rain, using smart-technology.

At a glance:

Who is this garden for? 
A domestic, family garden.
Where is the garden set?  
Who or what is the design inspiration?
Resilience in a changing climate.

The planting is green and lush, with pops of jewel-colours, yet it is as tough as it is beautiful, and appropriate for the range of soil conditions. A large apple tree demonstrates the value of slopes for drainage, while a range of pond and bog plants are well adapted to varying degrees of water inundation.

Flooding is a growing issue in the UK. One in four homes are at risk of damage to property and gardens, and the associated physical and psychological trauma. The Flood Re: The Flood Resilient Garden will be inspiring, aesthetically pleasing, and full of useful ideas to future-proof our gardens and address the disruption that flooding brings.

Designed by Naomi Slade & Dr Ed Barsley

Key sustainability points:

  • Reclaimed materials that can endure frequent and prolonged periods of inundation – reducing the need to throw away and replace features
  • Peat-free growing medium used for staging
  • Reclaimed or sustainable wood used for the hard landscaping
  • Salvaged fallen timber used for the deck and fence

Relocation & Repurpose

After the show, the garden will be permanently rehomed to the picturesque grounds of Howbery Business Park in Oxfordshire. This is a particularly fitting venue for the Flood Resilient Garden because the park is owned by HR Wallingford, an organisation that helps develop resilient approaches to flooding. The garden design will be adapted to fit into the Howbery Park space and will be open free of charge from spring 2025, offering lots of people the chance to enjoy and benefit from it.


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