Pioneer Projects

Five bespoke GI projects based on the Victoria BID's original research are making a big difference to the local environment.

The 'Urban Connections' Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016

RHS 2016 Chelsea Flower Show Garden and Parklets

We teamed up with the Sir Simon Milton Foundation to create a garden at the RHS 2016 Chelsea Flower Show that showcases the role that high quality public spaces play in bringing communities and generations together.

Award-winning garden design duo Lee Bestall and Paul Robinson designed the garden entitled ʻUrban Connectionsʼ. Work is underway to bring the gardens back to Victoria in the form of ‘parklets’ for everyone to enjoy.

Their innovative design creates new green spaces in an urban environment where people can meet and socialise. The first Urban Connections parklet will be installed behind Westminster City Hall at Spenser Street.

The John Lewis Rain Garden at 171 Victoria Street, London.

The John Lewis Rain Garden

The rain garden, designed by Professor Nigel Dunnett of Sheffield University with The Landscape Agency, replaced an area of 75m2 cobbled paving in front of the John Lewis Partnership head office. The project follows our own guidelines published in 2010 in the Victoria BID Green Infrastructure Audit

The rain garden project, which also included replanting five large planters, was planned with the John Lewis Partnership and reflects their environmental and sustainability values. The project received support from Natural England as well as the Mayor of London’s Greening the BIDs project, via the Cross River Partnership.

Rain gardens are an attractive way of absorbing rainwater run-off, helping to reduce the amount of water going into the sewers, cutting the impact of heavy rainfall and potential flooding. They form part of a strategy of water sensitive urban design and contribute to greening the area.

The work involved over 20 species of plants selected for their visual attractiveness, environmental tolerance and value to pollinators. They include evergreens, perennials and sarcococca hedges.  Drainage gaps within some of the kerbs allow water to flow into the garden from the road, thus reducing roadside flooding. The scheme was installed by Landform Consultants Ltd.

The Diamond Garden at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace

The Diamond Garden

In 2013, we unveiled The Diamond Garden with Buckingham Palace to mark the combined 60-year anniversaries of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne (1952) and Coronation (1953). Adjacent to The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, the garden’s striking skewed diamond pattern using strips of Portland stone commemorates the two diamond celebrations.

Designed by Professor Nigel Dunnett of Sheffield University and installed by Landform Consultants Ltd, the garden transformed a previously grassy area for the benefit of people and wildlife, especially pollinators. The project follows our own guidelines published in 2010 in the Victoria BID Green Infrastructure Audit

Victoria is susceptible to surface water flooding. The plants selected for The Diamond Garden intercept and trap rainfall, channelling it into the soil, or holding it within the rosettes and leaves of the plants. Low-maintenance varieties reduce the amount of energy and water required to manage the garden. Plants are mostly evergreen with flowering highlights throughout the spring and summer and the flowers are largely white, with some yellow and blue and include Narcissus, Croci, Vinca Minor (Gertrude Jekyll), and Lamium maculatum (Beacon Silver).

I welcome the work of the Victoria BID in creating this garden, which not only honours Her Majesty’s reign, but makes a contribution to improving biodiversity and air quality here in Westminster.

Councillor Edward Argar, Westminster City Council’s Cabinet Member for City Management, Transportation and the Environment said

The Rubens at the Palace Hotel living wall

The Rubens at the Palace Hotel living wall

In August 2013, one of London’s largest living walls was unveiled on the side of The Rubens at the Palace Hotel in Victoria. The wall spans 450m2 and comprises pollinator-friendly plant species including buttercups, crocuses, strawberries, spring bulbs and winter geraniums. This innovative project follows on from recommendations published in 2010 in the Victoria BID Green Infrastructure Audit.

Rainwater harvesting tanks form part of the scheme and store rainwater collected from the hotel’s roof which is used to irrigate the plants, topping-up the mains supply. The hotel’s owners, the Red Carnation Hotel Collection, commissioned concept designs following a feasibility study by the Green Roof Consultancy and that we commissioned. They subsequently developed the project in recognition of the environmental and aesthetic benefits it brings to Victoria. It has  received support from the Mayor of London through his Greening the BIDs programme co-ordinated by the regeneration agency, Cross River Partnership.

The wall significantly increases the amount of biodiversity in the area, improves air quality by trapping pollutants and reduces surface water flooding by attenuating rainfall. The wall helps insulate the hotel and brightens the popular tourist walk from London Victoria Station to Buckingham Palace. In 2013, the wall won a Sustainable Water Industry Group award and thermographs of the wall indicate significant cooling. The wall was designed by the Green Roof Consultancy Ltd and was installed and is maintained by TreeBox Ltd.

An ivy screen opposite the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel

Bridge Place ivy screen

Before we installed this ivy screen pedestrians had a close-up view of the refuse bins and equipment stored at the rear of London Victoria Station. This simple scheme, installed and maintained by Treebox Ltd, softens the streetscape considerably and masks the mini-depot on the other side of the fence.

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