You Can Slow The Flow: At Home

How to help in your house and garden

Due to human development, replacing plants and soils with hard surfaces such as roofs, roads, patios and car parking, rainfall runs off much more quickly, causing surface water and combined sewer flooding, and higher river levels.

You Can Slow The Flow At Home - Development

Using SuDS to Slow The Flow in our urban areas, as well as upstream, we can mimic natural water management. Many small changes can have a big combined effect on reducing flood water quantity and quality.

You Can Slow The Flow At Home - SuDS


Quick Wins

Sign up to receive Environment Agency Flood Warnings (even if you’re not in a flood zone) 

Make water butts into ‘mini leaky dams’ in winter! Leave the tap open slightly or add a tap half way up, if you’d like to leave the tap open all year round but retain some water.

Permeable Surfaces

can replace driveways and paths with materials that don’t shed water, such as:

  • gravel
  • reinforced grass
  • porous surfaces
  • permeable paving
  • slabs/setts on gravel and without mortar

Extra water can sometimes be stored underneath, using a layer of stone, or in special crates

Ground level Rain Gardens

are planting areas that are deliberately located where they collect run-off and store it temporarily – they become boggy in downpours.

As they are dry most of the time, many everyday plants can cope with the conditions. A layer of gravel below the topsoil helps increase storage capacity.

Do It Yourself

DIY is OK if changes are small-scale and simple, but get professional advice if you intend to:

  • increase the volume at any outfall point
  • work very close to a permanent river or stream (≈10m)
  •  make change to a listed building or in a conservation are
  • create a green roof
  • re-use grey water in buildings
  • do anything that could affect your neighbours

NB. Remember we have a varied geology, i.e. water runs through sand, but if you are working with clay, it may puddle rather than soak in.

Be a Water Hoarder!

Help to prevent combined sewer overflows by altering your actions during flood events to discharge less water into drains (as you might in drought – e.g. shower rather than bath, wait to use the washing machine…)

Yorkshire Water provide tips and free water saving packs.

When Can I Slow The Flow?

We hope you are able to be proactive and start right away!

However, you may not have resources to do anything right now. If so, next time you repair or refurbish property, please consider SuDS.

SuDS Elements

(Sustainable Drainage Systems)


Swales and / or basins can just be a dip in the lawn, or can be planted with meadow seed and plug plants, to provide a biodiversity corner that needs mowing less often.

Swales can direct water to a pond, or just allow it to soak away.

Rain Garden Planters

divert water from drainpipes, to slow / reduce the flow into sewers. So long as there is a plan for any overflow, they can be built over existing surfaces.

Excess water can continue into the existing system, as before.

can be created on sheds, garages, log stores, bin stores – you name it!

They are heavier than normal roof construction, so consult an engineer to check your structure is able to stand the weight.

Sedum roofs can be lighter than more biodiverse and  interesting planting schemes, which need deeper soil.

Both can be designed to need very little maintenance.

Download the printable 2-page PDF below:

The You Can Slow The Flow resource was 2017 winner of ‘Best Project’ at the Sustainable Water Industry Group Awards. These pages have been kindly sponsored by our friends in the Calderdale Flood Partnership, through the SOURCE partnership, and created by 2B Landscape Consultancy Ltd.