ACO is undertaking a broad-based approach to highlighting the need for a more sustainable approach to water management, including raising awareness by partnering with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) to showcase the issue at this year’s RHS Garden Festival at Hampton Court Palace.
With water shortages a growing concern in Britain, ACO partnered with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and garden designer Tom Massey at the recent RHS Garden Festival at Hampton Court Palace to ‘reimagine rainwater as a resource for positive use’ rather than simply being disposed of.
Indeed, concerns about water quantity and quality are often in the news. Summer 2023 delivered hosepipe bans in Kent and Sussex, while cars swim through flash floods in London.
This is all driven by the climate crisis, population growth and the ensuing urban creep that seals rain-absorbing ground. However, ACO argues that domestic practice lags behind the concern — we put rainwater down the drain, and throw drinking-quality water on the garden.
Supporting water conservation efforts, ACO reports it was delighted to sponsor the RHS Resilient Garden at this year’s RHS Hampton Court show. The garden transformed an “aesthetically and environmentally unimaginative” domestic plot into a biodiverse garden resilient to climate change.
The garden was designed by Tom Massey — who regularly features in BBC Two’s Your Garden Made Perfect — and built by Landscape Associates. Domestic rainwater management is central to the RHS Resilient Garden, with ACO products featured in the show garden and on the adjoining ACO House & Garden Stand during the six-day show.
“We all know water quality and quantity is of increasing national importance, but struggle to achieve solutions that benefit both our own homes and the wider ecosystem.”
Both the stand and garden together demonstrate the power of plants and products to channel, store, enjoy, slow and disperse rainwater on its journey from rooftop to ground level and below.
Solutions on display
Rainwater lands first and is slowed down on its journey through the green roofs of the house and garden office in the show garden. Planting and ACO RoofBloxx slow and disperse the rainwater while providing natural cooling and insulation.
ACO Threshold Drains protect the house from flood and feed rainwater into the pond, joining with the water from roofs. The rainwater pond “offers enjoyment for all” with ACO’s Wildlife products encouraging animals to stay.
Rainwater is kept out of the drain to combat sewage overflows that plague our news whilst ACO GravelGuard has replaced paving, allowing rain to pass through and stabilises the surface for access. In addition, water from the rainwater pond flows on into a soakaway — constructed using ACO StormBrixx — and is dispersed into the ground.
Peter Ridgway, Brand Development Director for ACO Technologies plc, said: “The Garden Festival is always a pleasure to attend and this year we were thrilled to work with the RHS and Tom Massey to expand the conversation on rainwater in our homes.
“We all know water quality and quantity is of increasing national importance, but struggle to achieve solutions that benefit both our own homes and the wider ecosystem. We encourage everyone with an interest in gardening and nature to explore how to use the power of ACO products and plants to reimagine rainwater in our gardens.”
Writing in ACO’s Reimagining Rainwater show literature, Tom Massey said: “We need to think about how water moves through our space and how we interact with water. Water is an interesting and textural element to add to a garden, bringing light, reflection and sound; but also can be stored and harvested for use later with rainwater harvesting systems.
“We must also think about how water moves into our main sewers. When water moves too quickly over the landscape and into the sewers, they become overwhelmed and we get discharges of toxic sewage into our waterways. It is essential to think about the way water is managed in our garden spaces.”
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Images reproduced with permission from RHS Resilient Garden, Dorling Kindersley: © AVA CGI Ltd, 2023
A version of this article appeared in the September issue of Professional Builders Merchant. Click here to read the full digital edition via the PBM website.