Regular readers of Gardenwise might remember me mentioning, earlier in the summer, that I always dread hearing about a hosepipe ban, because nothing is more guaranteed to result in torrential rain shortly thereafter. I’ll leave you to judge for yourself whether that observation has this year been justified, pausing only to point out that the ban has, for some weeks, been lifted.
Increased building is a fact of twenty-first century life, bringing with it the inevitable increase in paving, as roads, paths and driveways are obviously needed to access those new homes, schools and premises. Despite ominous warnings of climate change, frequent rain is a fact of life for the foreseeable future, and frequent flooding an unfortunate consequence.
So what can we do in our own homes and gardens to help reduce flooding risk? Quite a bit, in fact, but it might involve a change of mindset if you’ve always been attached to concrete, tarmac and cobblelock.
Increased paving over of front gardens in urban areas has made the problem of flooding worse – it’s understandable that as car ownership increases you need somewhere to park, and off street parking’s often preferable. But it doesn’t necessarily follow that your front garden has to be covered with an impermeable surface, leaving rainwater with nowhere to go. A combination of bricks or blocks with permeable pebble allows you to park easily while leaving somewhere for water to soak. Adding planted areas allows for even more soakage, while helping endangered pollinating insects, and making the space greener and more pleasant for humans too.
I often find people are wary of pebble or shingle surfaces, afraid that weeds will be a problem – but they shouldn’t be if the area is designed well and the materials laid properly. Bigger driveways, usually found in rural areas, can often benefit from a more open minded approach to surface finishes too. Not only are they more environmentally friendly, they can be easier on the pocket, something most of us would agree is an advantage!
Can your garden's paving make a difference to flooding.
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