Historic Garden Drainage

Turfdry was contacted regarding drainage issues on the marquee lawn at the historic Chelsea Physic Garden  - the oldest botanic garden in the capital, under Grade 1 Listed protection and the beneficiary of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales - which seeks to demonstrate the medicinal, economic, cultural and environmental significance of plants to humankind.

The garden's marquee lawn, which often bears heavy footfall during the busy summer events season, was suffering from considerable waterlogging issues. Due to the severely compacted subsoil, minor remedial measures had proved ineffective, so Head Gardener Nick Bailey chose Turfdry based on their strong reputation as a true turf specialist. 

Following a site visit by MD Melvyn Taylor, a drainage design was quickly put together, given the garden staff's desire to have all works completed in time for the impending opening of the garden to the public. Utilising the Turfdry Drainage System with Hydraway Sportsdrain installed at 3m centres leading to a soakaway - due to a lack of suitable outfall alternatives - the installation process not only required speed, but also the close care and attention demanded by a site with such a rich heritage as the Chelsea Physic Garden. 

Particular attention was paid to the protection of the trees and their roots, and special care had to be taken to ensure that the site's valuable topsoil - a product of the scores of gardeners who have tended it over the ages, rich with historical and botanical significance - was preserved without contamination. This was all complicated by the tight nature of the site, which required careful planning and execution by Turfdry's skilled operations team to ensure timely and tidy completion of the works. 

As a result of the very short timescale, the client opted for 'Big Roll' turfing for the lawn, and this was completed just in time for the opening of the gardens, with the Turfdry team finishing off and packing up just as the eager public were ushered into the garden for the first time in the year.

Subsequent visits have revealed that the turf had taken very well, despite its heavy usage, and that the Chelsea Physic Garden's summer events schedule was in full swing.



Project Summary

Services Provided by Turfdry

  • Site Survey
  • Drainage Design
  • Drainage Installation


Chelsea Physic Garden



Chelsea Physic Garden
66 Royal Hospital Road