Planning and Architecture

Greener Gardens

December 19, 2016 by No Comments | Category Architecture


Throughout the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, Scottish Government Planning & Architecture officials have been working in partnership with Central Scotland Green Network Trust, Taylor Wimpey West Scotland, Abertay University and C+D Associates on an innovative ’Greener Gardens’ project. Together they’ve been looking at how the gardens of new homes can be used to contribute to green infrastructure, biodiversity and storm water management. This partnership working received the 2015 VIBES Award (Vision in Business for the Environment Awards) for Cooperation Working.

The project features a number of strands – all designed to encourage the development of sustainable places – including installation of demonstration raingardens (including a raised bed raingarden and a natural raingarden) at Torrance Park, one of Taylor Wimpey West’s housing developments; pioneering sub-ground SUDS box  with associated academic research; provision of 200litre water butts as part of the package for new homeowners to save tap water; and raising awareness by promoting the benefits of raingardens both to homeowners and the wider house building industry. On 16 November 2016 Kevin Stewart Minister for Local Government & Housing visited the site, to see the features for himself.


The Minister said: “Greener Gardens” is a practical project which demonstrates a new way to implement the principles in our “Green Infrastructure: Design and Placemaking” guidance. The purpose of our involvement and providing funding support was to work with a housebuilder and progress work on mainstreaming raingardens in new developments, recognising how at a larger scale this could contribute to the Central Scotland Green Network national development. Through the partnership we are aiming to show how there can be effective solutions for both individual homeowners, as well as the wider housebuilding industry to create sustainable gardens and developments whilst encouraging biodiversity.

Raising the awareness of this innovative project has overall benefits for a wide audience as Stephen Andrew, Technical Director for Taylor Wimpey West Scotland explains: “Along with our project partners we are leading the way both in research and analysis of raingardens at plot level.”

“We believe the inclusion of raingardens within house plots can contribute positively to help the industry deal with storm water management in a sustainable way as a source control SUDS technique. We are really excited to be at the forefront of this project which we believe will provide us with valuable insight into how our industry will adapt and plan for the challenges brought about by climate change.”

Learning and education is a key part of the project, for all ages and sectors, right from primary school children, to University level and academic research, to informing prospective homeowners about the benefits of raingardens,  to promoting emerging practice with other housebuilders and the development sector. Dr Rebecca Wade from the Urban Water Technology Centre at Abertay University said: “Collaboration between education and industry can really make a difference!” The project has included collaborative work on a storm water management MSc project developed by Dr Brian D’Arcy (C&D Associates) together with Abertay University. It involved testing a new product  – the ‘SUDSbox’ designed by C&D Associates, James Travers studying for an MSc worked with Taylor Wimpey West Scotland who agreed to install the innovative technology  to enable its use to be monitored, providing real world learning opportunities for students.  Abertay University also developed materials for a schools pack, to highlight raingardens, sustainable drainage and the environment. The material helps show how changing land from greenfield to urbanized influences how rainfall impacts on the environment.  Pupils from Holytown Primary School were at the site for the Minister’s visit and will also benefit from a series of classroom talks and discussions, interactive activities and local show and tell walk-abouts in the local community to learn more about the concept of Greener Gardens.

The project team has also collaborated to create a ‘Developer’s Guide’, endorsed by Homes for Scotland, that aims to introduce the concept of greener gardens to the wider housebuilding industry, and provide guidance on how small changes can make a huge impact on the wider green infrastructure, bio-diversity and storm water management and how their future developments can embrace this thinking.

Picture Copyright Chris Watt Tel - 07887 554 193

@ Chris Watt photography

The guide is available at


More details about the project can be watched on this video

A short video showing highlights of the Minister’s visit is available

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