Capel Manor College

capel-manor-college young gardeners of the year 2015

From left, back row: Nicola O’Brian, Melinda Hilliard, Alejandra Pévez, Mark Fuller, Sibile Srubsaite, Laurianne Rawcliffe. Front row: Maja Anders-Petrovic, Jurgita Charlton, Alison Galer, Sue Taylor, Soofia Brady, Rainey Waldorf.

The Shower of Life Garden

young gardeners of the year capel-manor-final-design small garden

Garden design

Our garden provides an environment in which many of life’s daily functions can be carried out. It’s a place to relax, cook, eat and cleanse oneself.

The garden provides a haven of tranquillity within a busy urban environment. Step down into the relaxed seating area and enjoy the warmth from the fire and outdoor dining.

How will you harvest water?

Water is the key to life and water harvesting and recycling have driven the design process. The rainwater is taken from the roof of the house via a downpipe into a series of upstanding recycled copper boilers which decrease in height, allowing water to cascade from the highest to the lowest.

The water then overflows into a storage tank for future use in the garden. A sand and stone-filled soakaway underneath the shower helps to clean the grey water before it is recycled into the storage tank.

Image: Theo Cohen

Finished show garden. Image: Theo Cohen

How have you used recycled and sustainable materials?

Reclaimed materials are prevalent throughout the scheme including the metal screen surrounding the shower and the shower floor.

Recycled scaffold boards have also been used throughout the design, including the boundary walling. Additional scaffold boards have been set in gravel on the paths and seating area to allow for free drainage.

The bench seating and internal walling have been constructed from metal gabions filled with materials from sustainable sources and elements taken from plumbing scrap.

Why did you choose your planting scheme?

We have incorporated a green wall at the back to maximise the vertical planting space. The main planting area is a rain garden and takes its water from another downpipe from the roof. Plants, shrubs and trees selected for this area are able to cope with both wet and dry conditions.

The gabions are randomly planted with small ferns and low-growing flowering plants that add to the vertical planting.

How does your garden support wildlife?

The garden provides many opportunities for wildlife including the structure of the gabions, which create habitats for many types of invertebrates such as insects and spiders. These will in turn be a food source for birds. The vertical wall will serve as a habitat for invertebrates and in time could become a nesting place for birds too.

Image: Theo Cohen

Capel Manor winning a Silver Gilt Medal. Image: Theo Cohen

With thanks to our suppliers

Recycled goods