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Concrete 2.0 RHS Malvern Spring Festival

Introducing the Concrete 2.0 show garden at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2024


Designed by: Ian McBain MSGD MAPL

Landscaping contractor: Pickwell Paving

Supported by: Red Rhino Crushers

Tythorne Garden Design's first ever show garden, the Concrete 2.0 garden was part of the Outdoor Spaces category of gardens at the 2024 RHS Malvern Spring Festival. Designed for a young professional couple with a keen interest in sustainability, the garden featured a wonderful garden studio by Malvern Garden Buildings which could be used both for home-working and for downtime.


The Concrete 2.0 garden demonstrated that it is possible to specify reclaimed and recycled materials whilst still creating a beautiful and modern garden. Reclaimed steel angle iron was used as an edging for the paving and planting paths, as well as for the elevated water channels which carried water to the water features (recycled agricultural water troughs). Recycled aggregates were used within the paving area, for the planting paths and around the bases of the water features.


The garden also sought to promote the responsible use of water, with rain water being taken from the studio's roof to the water features, and all surface rain water collected on the paving areas being directed returned to natural underground aquifers via wide permeable drainage channels.


Above all, however, the Concrete 2.0 garden urged us all to rethink our paving choices. The UK garden industry is dominated by the carbon-heavy importation of porcelain and natural stone paving. We don't think this is sustainable, and so we urgently need to look at UK-produced options. Sustainable cement-free concrete products will undoubtedly be part of the solution, and this garden aimed to show that they can be used in an attractive and practical manner. With support from our friends at Kelham Island Concrete and Zero Waste Works, the garden featured concrete paving made with a cement alternative and steel reinforcing fibres recycled from used car tyres. 

Credit: BBC

RHS Silver-Gilt Award winning show garden Concrete 2.0 RHS Malvern Spring Festival

Key information about the Concrete 2.0 garden:

  • More than 55% of the total available space was devoted to planting

  • The sustainable cement-free concrete paving was created here in the UK

  • Recycled & reclaimed materials were used wherever possible

  • All surface water was returned directly to the ground and/or the water features

  • The garden studio and paving could be used for work or downtime

Rain water channels Concrete 2.0 Show Garden Malvern 2024

Image credit: RHS

Image credit: RHS

Speaking after the RHS Malvern Spring Festival, lead designer Ian McBain said: "This was my first RHS show garden, and I am so pleased with how positively the garden was received by the visiting public. People really engaged with the sustainability messages, particularly the need to rethink concrete as a potentially sustainable option for paving. We were so fortunate to collaborate with some wonderful companies, artists and designers throughout this project, and it really was a fantastic experience for all concerned."

Garden log pile for insects Concrete 2.0 RHS Malvern Spring Festival

Image credit: RHS

Key plants (provisional list)


• Betula utilis ‘Fascination’


  • Acer 'Bloodgood'

  • Brachyglottis greyi

  • Cornus 'Winter Fire'

  • Euphorbia wulfenii

  • Fatsia japonica

  • Lavandula 'Hidcote'

  • Osmanthus x burkwoodii

  • Pachysandra terminalis

  • Taxus bacatta

  • Thymus serpyllum

  • Viburnum opulus 'Roseum'


  • Alchemilla mollis

  • Allium 'Purple Sensation'

  • Angelica archangelica

  • Anthriscus sylvestris

  • Aqualegia 'Blue Barlow'

  • Asplenium scolopendrium

  • Astrantia 'Shaggy'

  • Briza media

  • Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster'

  • Centaurea montana

  • Centranthus 'Albus'

  • Centranthus 'Snow Cloud'

  • Dicentra 'Alba'

  • Digitalis 'Snow Thimble'

  • Dryopteris felix-mas

  • Foeniculum 'Purpureum'

  • Frageria ananassa

  • Geranium phaeum 'Album'

  • Geranium 'Azure Rush'

  • Geum 'Lady Stratheden'

  • Hakonechloa macra

  • Heuchera 'White Cloud'

  • Hosta 'Frances Williams'

  • Hyloptelephium 'Herbstfreude'

  • Iris 'Perry's Blue'

  • Liriope 'Monroe White'

  • Luzula nivea

  • Myosotis sylvatica

  • Nepeta 'Walker's Low'

  • Stachys 'Big Ears'

  • Stipa gigantea

  • Stipa tenuissima

After the show...

This garden has sustainability at its core, so it is really important to us that as much of the planting and materials are reused after the RHS Malvern Spring Festival. As such, the paving and water features will be relocated to a private domestic garden in the East Midlands. The trees and plants are to be utilised for future planting projects, and the aggregates and other materials will be recovered and reutilised across future garden designs.

With thanks to our supporters

All show gardens rely on collaboration and teamwork, and we have been humbled by how generous so many individuals and companies have been with their support for the Concrete 2.0 garden. We are extremely grateful to the following (in alphabetical order):


  • CoreLP generously donated the metal rings surrounding the bases of the water features.

  • Jane Hindmarch Art for creating and loaning the beautiful Elipse sculpture.

  • Kelham Island Concrete for their help producing the bespoke cement-free concrete paving.

  • Landscapeplus for their advice and guidance, and for helping to source the lighting and pumps for the water features (special mention here must go to In-Lite, Collingwood, Oase & Aquascape...thank you to all for their support).

  • Red Rhino Crushers Ltd for providing partial funding for the garden, and for helping to source some of the metal components.

  • Zero Waste Works for donating their recycled reinforcing fibres for the cement-free concrete paving, and for giving up so much time to support this project.

Thanks also to Jamie, Keily, Hannah & Nicola for volunteering to help with the garden build and/or planting.

Finally, special thanks to our friends at Pickwell Paving for helping to build the garden, and for being a constant source of support and ideas throughout this whole experience.

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