The East London Garden Society

World's First Vertical Rain Garden

A vertical garden, which is the first of its kind anywhere in the world, has been completed on London’s Tooley Street. The Rain Garden’s innovative design team have created a vertical rain garden system, which uses no power and is sustained only by rainwater.

Armando Raish from Treebox, the team that developed the technology and installed the system, says of the green wall:
“Like any well designed living wall the inclusion of mixed native planting attracts biodiversity, adds winter colour and provides texture.

But what makes this project unique is the ability to harvest enough rain water in storage tanks concealed behind the planting, to sustain the living wall for up to six weeks. This innovation allows the plants to absorb the water in a controlled way via capillary action, negating the need for a pressurised irrigation system that would require power and a water supply. The system not only stores water for irrigation, but also attenuates storm water in peak rain periods, which in turn prevents localised flooding. We are really excited about this innovation as it could revolutionise the way vertical greening can be introduced into non-serviceable areas around the city”.

The wall has come to fruition thanks to designs by The Green Roof Consultancy via the London Bridge Green Infrastructure Audit.
Shane Clarke, from Team London Bridge, who commissioned the living wall, says:

“Team London Bridge installed the Tree Box green wall⁄vertical rain garden on Tooley Street in the spring of 2013 as part of the Drain London sustainable urban drainage program. The green wall was an instant hit with local business and residents. After a successful trial period we decided to triple the length of the green wall in the spring of 2015. Again local businesses and residents have been fulsome in the praise of the project. Not only a beautiful addition to London Bridge but a properly sustainable one as well. Every wall should have one!”

Due to the innovation of the system, Tooley Street’s vertical rain garden has just been nominated for a sustainability award by Sustainable Water Industries Group (SWIG).