De-pave your garden

Four easy ways to make your garden or balcony greener

31 August 2018

London has over three million gardens. They cover almost a quarter of the city. Yet only 60 per cent of this area is green, and this green area is getting smaller every year as Londoners add patios, decking and paving to their gardens.

Greener gardens are good for London. They can help prevent flooding by letting water soak into the soil, absorb air pollution, provide a home for wildlife and keep the city cool in summer heat waves. They have even been shown to improve our health and wellbeing.

There are lots of easy ways to turn part of your garden, or your balcony, from grey to green. It doesn't mean removing your patio – even creating a small patch of greenery can help. Here are four ideas to help you get started, from small to large.

  1. Plant a window box. Even if you don’t have a garden, you can help to green the grey. With regular water and food, many plants will grow happily in a window box and they can be great for attracting bees and butterflies. Find out how on the RSPB website.
  2. Lift up one paving slab. De-paving doesn’t have to be a big task. Why not start with removing a single paving slab from your patio and turning it into a mini garden? Follow the Royal Horticultural Society’s step-by-step video.
  3. Create a rain garden. Paving over gardens reduces the amount of rainwater that can soak into the soil, increasing the risk of flooding. A rain garden is a low point in the ground, filled with plants, where water can flow into the soil rather than into the drainage system. The UK Rain Garden Guide can show you how.
  4. De-pave your front garden. Many front gardens are paved to provide a parking space, but you can create a garden that can soak up rainwater, include plants and have room to park your car. The Royal Horticultural Society’s website is full of ideas.

The Mayor’s ambition is to make more than half of London green by 2050. Greening the grey in your garden is just one way Londoners can help to make the city greener, healthier and wilder. Check out what else you can do to help.

Let us know how you get on by sharing your photos on social media with the hashtag #NationalParkCity.