9th July 2024

Contributing to pioneering raingarden research in Glasgow


Our director Isla Jackson and team in our Glasgow studio have contributed to pioneering research into the performance of raingardens.

The research, which has been published in Frontiers in Water – a journal which studies climate change and water resource challenges – explores the impact of raingardens on pollution removal and the make-up and function of microorganisms.

Joining forces with Professor Vernon Phoenix at the University of Strathclyde, Dr Erin Corbett, and other researchers, our team led the design and installation of the raingarden system as part of our work on the Glasgow City Region City Deal ‘Avenues’ project.

The collaborative research involved feeding stormwater from Argyle Street into four separate raingardens made up of different designs, to test their impact on pollution reduction.

In a landmark discovery, the research found that:

  • All rain gardens do a brilliant job of reducing stormwater pollutants
  • They continue to do great work when roads and paths are salted in winter
  • Microorganisms in stormwater that has been processed by raingardens have greater functional richness, meaning soil bacteria can undertake more tasks

You can read the full paper here.

Commenting on the findings, Isla said: “We’ve long been champions of raingardens and nature-based solutions as game changers when it comes to making our towns and cities more resilient to flooding and extreme temperatures.

“It’s vital we demonstrate the positive impact they can have on the environment and encourage greater implementation across the UK and globally as we address the climate crisis, which is why this research couldn’t have come at a more crucial time.

“The ‘Avenues’ project is a real source of pride and place on our doorstep in Glasgow city centre, and a worthy home of such important research, which is helping us to create a better, brighter future. Fantastic to collaborate with the research team and share the learnings far and wide.”

As a nature-based approach to managing drainage, sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) and raingardens help to reduce the risk of flooding and improve the quality of water that enters watercourses. We implement them widely across our projects, including Gascoigne Estate Phase 2 in Barking and Dagenham; Climate Innovation District in Leeds; the award-winning first Ireland raingarden demonstrator in Cobh, and Altrincham Public Realm.

Green / blue infrastructure, including raingardens, trees and planting, is central to the transformation of the Glasgow Avenues project, which seeks to dramatically improve the quality of the city centre environment, putting people at its heart. We’re leading the design team delivering Block A of the scheme, and you can find out more about the project here.

Contributing to pioneering raingarden research in Glasgow