A rain garden for the future

A garden designed to respond to climate change and demonstrate use of the planet’s precious resources responsibly is to feature in the Space to Grow category at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show (22nd – 27th May 2018).

‘Urban Flow’ is a garden designed for the future to respond to climate change and changing lifestyles. The garden will be constructed by Garden Club London, a collective of landscape architects, designers, landscapers and horticulturists specialising in Urban Landscape and Garden Design. The design team, led by designer Tony Woods, a former RHS Young Garden Designer of the Year, is working in partnership with Thames Water, to provide a garden space that delivers a strong message and visual impact with water at the centre of daily life.

Showcasing sustainability, without compromising on stunning design and contemporary features, the garden will feature dense planting of trees, structural evergreens and abundant nectar rich flowers to create a landscape of contrasts.

At the heart of the garden will be a ‘Rain Garden’ structure that shows how excess rain water can be diverted and used as part of a garden design at home to reduce flood risk and minimise water consumption.

The show garden is designed to be viewed from two sides – as you walk past you hear running water falling gently into a pool – abundant flowers and grasses draw your eye up a handmade clay brick permeable path, that meanders geometrically through a modernist dark steel effect archway. Exploring further into the communal area of the garden, a meeting place is revealed with benches to perch on, work or relax and an outdoor kitchen area forming the perfect place to enjoy the garden as part of daily life.

The garden carries several key messages including water conservation, flood risk reduction, minimising garden water use, encouraging pollinators and clean air. The garden also highlights how you can design and landscape gardens responsibly by using both permeable surfaces and non-permeable materials to show the contrast in water flow as well as showing that by mixing materials and using landscape features in the right way you can design a stunning garden, balancing environmental responsibility while at the same time achieving the wow factor.

The garden will feature a living wall with herbs and edibles and planting will consist of a range of perennials, including drought tolerant perennials, grasses, ferns and structural shrubs.

In the last few years, Garden Club London, have developed several commercial projects for clients such as British Land, European Land and John Lewis. Tony Woods (pictured left) was recently been awarded a BALI Principal Award and Special Design and Build award for the design and installation of London’s first floating pocket park as well as Best of Houzz 2018 award.

‘Urban Flow’ promises to be an interesting garden with plenty of important messages for water conservation and use and lots of ideas that we can all use in our own gardens.


Photograph Tony Woods credit Jason Ingram, garden illustrations ©Tony Woods, Garden Club London.