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Tidal terrace planting completed at Chelsea Embankment

Another of the public spaces which will be left behind once London’s super sewer is complete is taking shape with the installation of plants on the new river wall terracing at Chelsea Embankment.

The landscaping works at the site, which sits in front of the Royal Chelsea Hospital, were carried out by horticulture specialists planting species such as rushes, grasses, sedge, sea aster and irises.

The floodable terraces which vary in height between 825mm and 1500 mm form the new river wall and are made up of 120 precast panels and approximately 40,000 bricks.

The planting areas are composed of coir rolls, rock rolls and a growing medium. The coir rolls are an elongated mesh filled with plug plants while the rock rolls are designed to break the force of waves and to protect the planting from tidal action.

“The intertidal terraces and the marginal planting are a special pocket window to what a natural river environment could be in the heart of London. They will not only enhance the visual amenities and joy to London citizens but also create a spectacular ecological niche for the Thames fauna and flora, providing refuge, spaces to feed and nest for a variety of birds, small mammals and fish,” said German Santa-Maria Martin, Architecture and Landscape Lead on the Tideway central section.  

At Chelsea, Tideway is working to ‘intercept’ the Ranelagh combined sewer overflow (CSO), which typically discharges more than 280,000 tonnes of sewage into the Thames in an average year. The site has also seen completion of the paving and architectural work at the “bull ring” which will be the main entrance for crowds attending the Chelsea Flower Show.

When construction of the Thames Tideway Tunnel is finished, three acres of new spaces will be created along the route of the river while parts of the sites at Chelsea and Victoria Embankments and at King Edward Memorial Park will be ‘floodable’ at high tides. The largest public realm will be located at Blackfriars Bridge.