Flood Re has been working with designers Dr Ed Barsley and Naomi Slade to bring the Flood Resilient Garden to life at Chelsea Flower Show 2024.

With extreme weather events becoming more frequent and severe, the adaptation of our gardens and outdoor space, of any size, will play an increasingly important role in preventing flooding.

Filled with ideas and features to improve flood resilience, this garden is both beautiful and purposeful and will respond and adapt to the challenges of heavy rain and surface water flooding by embracing the water as a feature and harnessing it for future use.

Learn about key features of our garden which you can apply to your outdoor space

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 pools, creating a reserve of water that can be discharged ahead of further rain, using smart-technology.

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 quince tree demonstrates the value of slopes for drainage, as fruit trees dislike wet soil, while a range of pond and bog plants are well adapted to varying degrees of water inundation.

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  1. Shrubs/climbers

    Shrubs/climbers

    Shrubs and climbing roses on well-drained ground next to slatted wooden fence

  2. Shrubs/small trees

    Shrubs/small trees

    Shrubs and small trees underplanted with shade-lovers; raked log pile/wildlife escape-route

  3. The fruit tree

    The fruit tree

    Substantial quince tree, underplanted with tough and trample tolerant plants, and other species that enjoy good drainage

  4. Steps

    Steps

    Reclaimed stone steps and stepping stones provide a lower level route around the garden

  5. Mixed planting

    Mixed planting

    Textured mixed planting and structural shrubs on steep slope

  6. The pond

    The pond

    Pond doubles as a sump to collect water and slowly allow it to drain away

  7. The stream

    The stream

    Ephemeral stream runs over rocks and pebbles during wet weather, raked gradient allows further water storage capacity as pond fills

  8. The bridge

    The bridge

    Raised wooden bridge over the central gully enables higher parts of the garden to be accessed during flooding

  9. The swale

    The swale

    Swale channels rain and flood water down the garden, while plants slow the flow

  10. Willows

    Willows

    Pollarded Salix in damp ground

  11. The patio

    The patio

    Reclaimed stone patio: designed to flood and drain without damage, bedded into a permeable substrate with gravel in gaps; furniture is heavy and water resistant

  12. Wall planters

    Wall planters

    Wall planters and elevated storage against fence

  13. Raised edibles

    Raised edibles

    Ornamental edibles in raised planter are not contaminated by dirty water

  14. Smart rainwater tank

    Smart rainwater tank

    Substantial rainwater storage tank captures water which then overflows into garden via a series of pools; smart-technology allows remote drain-down ahead of predicted rainfall

  15. Rain chains

    Rain chains

    Rain chains provide sound and movement as they channel water into an ornamental pool/metal storage tank

  16. Perennial planting

    Perennial planting

    Sunny, well-drained bank planted with cheerful perennials, grasses and shrubs

  17. The pergola

    The pergola

    Pergola provides shade and channels water from roof onto rain-chains

  18. Flood barrier

    Flood barrier

    Deployable flood barrier

  19. Extra wide guttering

    Extra wide guttering

    Wider guttering can handle a larger volume of water without overflowing

Click on an area of the Flood Resilient Garden below to explore what wonderful plants are used