Nature Based Solutions

At the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, plants are both beautiful and powerful.


  • Research is at the heart of our programme, demonstrating how plants are central to successfully mitigating the effects of climate change and repairing the ecosystem of our urban environment. Driving our applied research is the five-year Plants with Purpose programme, investigating the functional traits of plants in an exciting collaboration with academic and industry partners. Plants with Purpose focuses on the key issues of flood attenuation, temperature regulation, and biodiversity restoration.



    RBGE operates as a ‘living laboratory’, where we can test and monitor nature-based solutions right on our grounds. Using sensors throughout the wider RBGE landscape, we study changes in soil moisture, temperature, water flow, and biodiversity in real time. 

    Gathering this scientific evidence provides the opportunity for our partners and the public to see practical solutions to current problems, solutions that are both functional and beautiful.

Knowledge exchange

  • Who do we work with? Nature-based solutions touch every aspect of society in our shared efforts to tackle and respond to climate change. Through a diverse programme of events, workshops, consultations and publications we work with a wide range of sectors from national and local Government to academia, industry, community organisations and individuals. One million visitors pass through our gardens every year, providing a special opportunity to share our scientific research on nature-based solutions and the ways we make our towns and cities better.

Visit RBGE for Nature Based Solutions

  • Demonstration sites at RBGE include green roofs, stormwater planters, living lawns, bioretention ponds, and more. Our flagship project is a stunning raingarden, planted in 2019 to solve persistent flooding. The paths by the raingarden no longer flood, the garden is irrigated only by rain, and five years later the plants are still thriving. Our raingarden is a collaboration between RBGE scientists, horticulturists, and staff at Heriot Watt University. This has become a shared outdoor space to facilitate discussion about urban flooding. 

    Before: a flooded lawn and path on the future site of the experimental rain garden.

    After: the planted experimental rain garden, which absorbs and controls flooding.

    A garden flooded with water A garden filled with lots of greenery

Explore nature-based solutions within our Gardens

Nature Based Solutions ‘address societal challenges through the protection, sustainable management and restoration of both natural and modified ecosystems, benefiting both biodiversity and human well-being. Nature-based Solutions are underpinned by benefits that flow from healthy ecosystems.’     

- International Union for the Conservation of Nature