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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Paved gardens increase flood risk and could face increased water bills

Here's a subject dear to Hugh's heart: there's an epidemic of paving front gardens as people seek a low-maintenance attractive frontage to their house. 

But it's bad for wildlife, increases urban heating in hot summers, and increases risk of surface water flooding. 

This article in the Telegraph suggests people with paved gardens could face higher water bills in future because of the flood risk they're causing

Tags for Forum Posts: concreted front gardens, front gardens

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We almost got flash-flooded last year. That's despite having as many plants outside as possible to slow down the rain. 

Indeed close to my heart, as it should be to everybody’s. The issue gor us in Harringay  is mainly concreted front gardens. I’ve added tags to your post to take people to my others pn this topic, so that folks can judge for themselves why it’s important.

The authors of the new report are right, I’m sure. The only way to deal with this issue is through a financial penalty for those who fail to do so on their own. Sadly, it’s difficult to see this particular government following through on those recommendations.

As far as I’m aware, paved gardens are fine, as long as gaps are left for water to run off. The issue is when whole areas are concreted over and there’s no way for the water to filter through.

Thanks for posting. 

Glad this resonated with you Hugh.  The key thing is paving needs to be permeable.  It needs to allow water to penetrate easily.  Most paving includes mortar between the joints to stop weed growth.  Many people where i live in South Tottenham are using patterned Victorian tiles, or other posh tiles and slabs and the vast majority DON'T have gaps.  And it seems to be common practice for builders to be installing an impermeable plastc membrane underneath paving, and also underneath different types of shingle - which is just as bad - it's there to block weed growth, but also blocks water.

Thanks, that’s helpful. My garden was landscaped before I arrived. It had an area of old yorkstone paving with, as you say, the gaps filled with mortar of some sort, also a few old bricks in some spaces between stones. I removed both mortar and the bricks and there are now inch/half inch gaps round each piece of paving. Over the years, I’ve encouraged a variety of “good” plants to thrive in those gaps and I get rid of the ones that I don’t want as I go. I’m pretty sure the current set-up allows plenty of permeability…….at least I hope it does!. My front garden is completely unpaved.

Our front garden is paved, like pretty much every garden on the street. I would love to get it redone to make it capable of both soaking up flash flooding and also help with the summer heat these days. If anyone has developed a good front garden plan I would be v interested.

Me too! And recommendations for companies that can/will do it.
We tried to get quotes last year for deconcreting and gravel. None of the companies we contacted wanted the job once they realised there’d be no replacement hard cover. And if anyone cd design a domestic rain garden…

haha i was thinking of a career change into landscape gardening - could be just the stimulus i need :-)

Well if you want a practice garden we'd be up for it!!

A few doors away from us a front garden and path have recently been repaved, covering the whole area, using large recycled flagstones which are unlikely to move if crossed by a wheelie bin. Instead of leaving narrow gaps between the flags as Hugh describes, they're filled up with mortar. Spacers could have been used if stability is essential. There's a 15 cm gap between the paving and the house front wall, filled with pea gravel, which will be taking a large part of the run-off. Good luck with that in a thunderstorm...



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