What’s rainscaping? The new gardening trend that you might already be taking part in without knowing it

Rainscaping is the latest buzzword of the gardening world that you should know about – this is what it means

The rain and chain barrel water feature at RHS Chelsea Flower SHow
(Image credit: Getty Images/schulzie)

The UK is known for its consistently rainy weather. So it’s only fitting that we should do something positive with all that rainwater that falls upon us – enter rainscaping. What’s rainscaping, you might ask.  

Rainscaping is one of the latest garden trends, which change all the time just like fashion or home decor trends do. And even though this may be the first time you’re hearing the term, you might actually already be practising some of the rainscaping methods.

Potentially the next big thing in gardening, rainscaping is a permaculture practice which looks to capture and repurpose rainwater in the garden in whatever way, big or small, which is a great way to save money on water, practise sustainability and save your garden from heavy rain.

Water butts with plants in the garden

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

What’s rainscaping?

‘Rainscaping is a landscaping technique that allows the garden/landscape to naturally capture and filter rainwater runoff, and repurpose it so that it's beneficial to the environment instead of damaging your home and its structure,’ explains Steve Chilton, garden expert at LeisureBench.

So if you already collect rainwater in a water butt like this one from Amazon for watering your plants, then you’re practising rainscaping.

The rain and chain barrel water feature at RHS Chelsea Flower SHow

(Image credit: Heather Young/Future Publishing Ltd)
Steve Chilton portrait
Steve Chilton

Steve is a passionate and knowledgeable garden expert with several years of experience within the field. As the director of LeisureBench, an industry-leading garden furniture company, Steve has developed strong expertise for all things nature and plants. 

‘The most common rainscaping idea that we see in thousands and thousands of homes is the water butt for catching rainwater. You might not realise that just by collecting rainwater, you're rainscaping. Rainscaping is a relatively new term, so there are probably many different things that you do in your garden that actually class as rainscaping that you might not even be aware of,’ Steve says.

But there are other ways in which you can rainscape, all of which are great budget garden ideas.

Wild garden

(Image credit: Getty Images/ZenShui, Sigrid Olsson)

‘Rainscaping techniques are typically straightforward solutions that include redirecting gutter water to garden beds, setting up rain barrels and cisterns, installing a French drain, digging a dry well and planting a variety of trees and shrubs,’ says Petar Ivanov, Fantastic Gardeners' gardening expert. 

‘Utilising barrels to harvest rainwater is an environmentally friendly decision which also gives you greater control over your organic water supply in addition to allowing you to save money on watering your landscaping with water from the city supply.’

Petar Ivanov portrait
Petar Ivanov

Petar Ivanov is one of the company's top-performing experts and manages over six teams of gardeners, delivering stunning landscape results and fostering a deep connection with nature through his work.

A water pond in the garden surrounded by plants

(Image credit: Future PLC)

But rainscaping can be made into a larger-scale landscaping project as well. Our favourite? Rain gardens. Even the name is beautifully poetic.

‘Rain gardens are additions to your garden that purposefully take in all of the rain runoff, and feature specific plants and soil in order to do so. These are usually placed at the end of your garden, away from your home in order to redirect rain run-off from the home and its foundations into a separate area. These rain gardens are generally built in a bowl shape to help catch the water,’ Steve says. 

So whether you decide to collect rainwater in a water butt or create a rain garden, we hope that you give this promising garden trend a shot.

Sara Hesikova
News Writer

Sara Hesikova has been Ideal Home’s News Writer since July 2023, bringing the Ideal Home’s readership breaking news stories from the world of home and interiors. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors. She feels the two are intrinsically connected - if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.