River friendly gardening
Everyone can do their bit to keep our rivers healthy, just by gardening in a slightly different way. 

In this section we'll explain how you can make a storm water planter and give some top tips on creating a rain garden at home
.

As climate changes we are seeing more cloudburst type rainfall, with heavy deluges that overwhelm our drainage network, causing local flooding. These are often followed by long dry periods, so its important that we look for ways to slow the flow of stormwater, catch what we need to water our gardens and create space for water to soak into the ground slowly instead of rushing off down drains to either the river or the sewage treatment works. This is known as Sustainable Drainage or SuDS.

The first and simplest thing to do is install a water butt. The average roof collects enough rainfall to fill 300 water butts with rain every year. Many water companies and councils offer water butts at a discount or even free, so check offers in your area.

 
Storm water planters
Storm water planters are also known as downspout planters. They catch water, usually from the roof, slow it down and filter it before releasing it slowly either to the drain or into the ground. You can connect your gutter to the planter via a downpipe or a rain chain. Scroll down tand click on the graphic to see how we worked with designer Wendy Allen to create storm water planters out of agricultural troughs.



Rain Gardens
Rain gardens are depressions in the ground which provide a safe space for water to soak into the ground during and after rainfall.  They can be a beautiful addtion to a garden and are simple to construct and plant. The gardens only stay wet for a few hours, so they are different to bog gardens and need to be planted with plants which can adapt to wet and dry conditions.

There are a few basic rules to follow and there are many very good publications on how to create a rain garden. We have created a catalogue on the Kennet Catchment Partnership website.