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Gardens for Learning

Schools throughout the UK

The Brief

In recent years, it's been increasingly widely recognised that well designed school grounds provide a rich educational resource that can play a vital part in helping improve children's behaviour, motivation and well-being. School spaces vary enormously, from a tiny patch of green to a large expanse of grey tarmac playground. Briefs are equally varied, requesting anything from activity trails for infants to basketball courts for teens, via Maths Gardens and colour beds. Sometimes, funds need to be raised to pay for the project, so part of the challenge is putting forward ideas to generate interest. And creating landscapes for new schools often means working as part of a multidisciplinary professional design team.

My design

As someone who worked for many years as a teacher, I'm delighted that I've been able to work widely in this field. A few of my projects include:

  • Prince’s Mead School - Landscape design and curriculum development to support a planning application for the conversion of Grade 2* Listed house for a private school. Ongoing work following the school's successful launch.
  • Acorn’s Early Years Centre - A new Activity Garden for young children with special needs. Making good use of a compact space, design features included steps and ramps to help children develop their physical skills, while curved mirrors and water introduced fun elements, and interesting tactile plants encouraged the use of a wider vocabulary.
  • St Mark’s Primary School – A Maths Garden and adjacent seating areas, to enhance the outside space at a new school. The design also featured paving patterns, fencing and posts were, to help children with counting, measuring, fractions and shapes.
  • St Matthew’s Infant & Junior School – A Development Plan for the whole school grounds - including a small Games & Maths Garden, a space for children or learn, or simply enjoying playing quietly; and child-high plinths for the children’s marble and toy car games. Detailed planting designs were produced for Colour Beds to supply resources for use in Art classes.