Rain Gardens: Managing Water Sustainably in the Garden and Designed Landscape

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By Nigel Dunnett and Andy Clayden

Review by Erik van Lennep

“...technically a rain garden has come to mean something very specific, namely a planted depression that is designed to take all, or as much as possible, of the excess rain- water run-off from a house or other building and its associated landscape. However, we feel that the term is such an evocative one that we use a much more wide-ranging de?nition, which covers all the possible elements that can be used to capture, channel, divert and make the most of the natural rain and snow that falls on a property. The whole garden becomes a rain garden, and all of the individual elements that we deal with in detail are either components of it, or are small-scale rain gardens in themselves. Rain gardens are therefore about water in all its forms, still and moving, above and below ground, and the rich planting and experiential opportunities that exploiting that water can give rise to”.

If ever there was a summer to appreciate this book, this is it. Despite the monsoon conditions in Ireland and the UK, I found myself enjoying the rain more when I read this book, imagining all the delightful ways in which design can be used to play with rainfall.

Nigel Dunnett and Andy Clayden both lecture at the Department of Landscape, University of Sheffield, UK, where this summer has provided more than enough rain for anyone's preference.

See excerpts of this book online