United Utilities Slow the Flow Garden

Superb contemporary-style front garden featuring elegant methods of managing rainwater run off amid carefully considered planting as part of a clever and detailed overall design

Show Gardens

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  • The stepped, oriental inspired zig-zag central path makes a superb feature leading up to a Scandinavian syle pavilion. The path is made from bespoke concrete beams and snakes through the cool, calm planting. Metal rills and tanks under and beside the path help circulate runoff rainwater collected via a rain-chain from the green roof of the pavillion.The gentle trickling sound helps to produce a calm and contemplative feel.
  • The driveway is constructed of permeable hardstanding, and pebble-filled gabions help retain soil where the ground levels change, also slowing, yet still allowing, the flow of water through the site.
  • This stylish, contemporary front garden space demonstrates techniques for capturing, retaining and slowing the flow of rainfall.

About the Garden

Porous, concrete beam walkways lead up through the garden to the front door of an imagined timber-frame house. A living roof holds and slows the rainwater as it passes down the chain downspout into a galvanised steel container, which flows into two more water vessels, all surrounded by rich green planting and soakaways.

Beneath the garden is a water storage tank, which is powered by solar energy and allows the plants to be irrigated during drought. During heavy rain, an overflow in each of the troughs releases water into a soakaway, which in turn fills the underground storage tank.

A steel sculptural panel, set within the boundary hedge, contains a laser-cut flowing water design. Ornamental plants with an emphasis on strong foliage and texture, including a large selection of grasses, have been incorporated into the design, woven through with a small selection of flowering plants in pastel tones.

All Show Gardens

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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.