River friendly gardening

Rain Garden UK training

Everyone can make a difference to our rivers just by changing the way they treat rain in their gardens. ARK's Rain Garden UK training courses provide practical and online training for anyone thinking about building a rain garden. We have designed the courses wilth profressional garden designer Wendy Allen and they are free to attend.

Anyone is welocome. Our training is aimed at ordinary gardeners or people interested in setting up commuity projects, you don't need any specialist knowledge or skills.

We offer two workshops focussing on the practicalities of DIY retrofitting domestic rain gardens and rain planters, starting where the rain runs off an existing roof and ending when it soaks into the ground. Workshops are suitable for everyone and can be attended in either order. Our aim is to inspire and empower individuals and groups to create rain gardens in their own green space. The following workshops are free of charge, made possible by funding from Thames Water and the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. Each session is a mix of practical activity and presentations.
Note about online workshops
These are not recorded, although a handout will be provided. Course numbers are deliberately small to enable participants to ask questions and interact throughout the sessions to get the most from them.

DATES 2021

26 October   10.00-14.00     Rain planter practical workshop – Aldbourne
2 November 09.30-13.30     Rain garden and rain planter online workshop Part 1
3 November 09.30-13.30     Rain garden and rain planter online workshop – Part 2
20 November 10.00-14.00  Rain planter practical workshop – Marlborough
21 November 10.00-14.00   Rain garden practical workshop - Marlborough
24 November 19.30-21.00   Creative rainwater in your garden (arrive 7 for drinks, talk start at 7.30) - Mildenahll
27 November 10.00- 15.00  Rain planter practical workshop - Mildenhall
3 December 09.30 - 13.30  Online workshop part 1 - focus on rain planters - numbers limited to allow interactive workshop experience
10 December 09.30 - 13.30 Online workship part 2 - focus on rain gardens - 
numbers limited to allow interactive workshop experience

DATES 2022

14 March 2022 – 09.30 - 13.30 Online rain garden workshop
16 March 2022 – 0930 - 14.30 Practical workshop – buillding rain planters -  Marlborough
POSTPONED 27 April 2022 - 1330 Online rain planter workshop 
NEW DATE 22 JUNE 2022  0930 - 1330 Rescuing Rain - online rain planter workshop

Course leaders: Charlotte Hitchmough: Director, Action for the River Kennet
Wendy Allen, Wendy Allen Designs.
Courses are free of charge, thanks to funding from Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and Thames Water.
Bookings and more infomation:


Why come on the course?

As climate changes we are seeing more cloudburst type rainfall, with heavy deluges that overwhelm our drainage network, causing local surface water flooding and sewage spills into our rivers. These rainstorms 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. If you'd like to find out more about the benefits of rain gardens click
here or come on one of our workshops to learn more.

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.

To create a rain garden there are a few basic rules to follow, our Rain Garden UK training course will guide you through in simple steps so that you are empowered to build your own with confidence.

Storm water planters

Storm water planters are also known as rain water or 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 and 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.