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Rain Garden

‘The nicest thing about the rain is that it always stops. Eventually.’ – Eeyore –

The need to truly explore and integrate nature based solutions that combat issues with excess water and drainage.

Unfortunately, Eeyore, the rain we have been experiencing in the last few months has been endless and providing quite a challenge for those in the garden and landscape design, horticultural and construction industry!  The below image, much closer to home, is all too familiar and the knock on disruptive effects we feel.

Issues with excess water
Recent experiences with excess water

In tandem, the most recent coverage of the unusual and extreme volume of rainfall seen in the Middle East. In only a short 24 hours they experienced the most amount of rainfall recorded in 75 years! The equivalent to 5 months of consistent rainfall. Yikes.

The topic of prolonged and excessive rain and water joins the many similar thread of conversations surrounding very noticeable changes in weather patterns, seasonality interruptions or delays. The knock on effects everyone is feeling and experiencing becoming all too frequent and very real.

Climate ‘change’ or ‘crisis’ ultimately sits on the tip of everyone’s tongues and for years now we have all committed to the process of  brainstorming, discussing and striving to do we can to adjust, improve and ultimately action necessary changes to combat what we can and where we can!

Sustainable Drainage Systems, A.K.A, ‘SuDS’ made its way onto the scene roughly 15 years ago. SuDs would ultimately address  concerns over water quality, water quantity, amenity and biodiversity by managing the run off volumes of water thus endeavouring to reduce flooding and pooling whilst preserving the natural water cycles.

Initially achieved through a series of engineered systems and controlled structures that would tackle any drainage issues head on by gathering surface waters and either storing them or re-directing them to join existing water systems.

These methods took the forms of permeable paving, attenuation lakes and ponds. Whilst there have been many benefits to this approach over the years, there are some noticeable downsides. Time and effort would be put into calculating the potential volumes of water, its movement, appropriate storage containment and of course, where will it eventually go and how quickly or slowly? How will that be controlled? There has been too much emphasis on water storage solutions. A further knock on effect has been the requirement for large areas of land to accommodate this continuing to pose further challenges.

However, lets be positive, in more recent years, there has been a significant shift in the design industry and a huge change away from the engineered solutions to consider and really explore more ‘nature based’ solutions.

These changes have incorporated, included and embraced a wider scope of terminology concentrating on bio -diversity, naturalistic and environmentally supportive and beneficial designs. As well as continuing to be sustainable and realistically manageable! The aforementioned ‘hot topic’ continues to lie at the centre of these concerns and are being addressed and developed carefully to aid in our present climate crisis.

These super SuDs nature-based solutions are now taking the form of rain gardens, swales and natural ponds. What is already working so well in nature has been emulated and replicated but on a larger, more widely available and a more effective scale. The below images are being actioned, are being proven successful and can contribute to the continued problems we face in a more naturalistic and effective way.

Rain garden
Successful integration of swales to combat excess water
Turning Grey to Green

But how? How does it work? And where can we see these examples?

Want to know more? Watch this space for more upcoming information about the different nature-based solutions and technical aspects on our design solutions page.

Have any thoughts? Do let us know in the comments below!

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