This commission for a special school in Bristol is a collaboration between four graduates of Garden Design School. With creative designs and practical solutions we hope to transform an under-used outdoor space into a very special garden.
Concepts for surfaces & planting
Moveable planters on castors containing tall ornamental grasses and airy perennials to screen the morning sun; provide privacy from the larger playground; and create motion and sound.
Climbers grow up free-standing trellis in timber troughs against the wall of the indoor pool, softening the imposing blue brick walls.
Sensory underplanting around the prunus.
Paved area outside staff-room, with ornamental grasses and climbers in planters
Artificial turf replaces the central concrete slabs, to provide textural and colour contrast, and softness to the touch.
Each of the three tree (prunus) planting pockets planted up with a single species rich with sensory interest.
An existing herb trough is to be matched as a pair, and planted with colourful scented herbs.
Sensory panels to be affixed to the perimeter fence.
Middle section showing artificial turf, herb planters and planting pockets below trees.
A colourful safety surface below the pergola, (e.g. wet pour or Saferturf, budget-dependent) replaces concrete slabs.
This softer surface, combined with colourful post protectors and floor cushions, will allow the students freedom to explore the area in safety and comfort.
Plants tolerant of dry shade in colourful planters, around the perimeter to keep open the central space.
Area covered by pergola
The existing space
The long, narrow, East-facing outdoor space is exposed to the elements, paved with concrete slabs and enclosed with metal mesh fencing. It currently lacks comfort and visual appeal, and is under-used. The teachers and pupils would like more comfortable surfaces in the covered and middle sections, plus shading and privacy in the seating area. The pupils respond particularly well to strong contrasts in colour and texture.
We've listened to the ideas, hopes and needs of all stakeholders, using them as the starting point for our creative solutions. Our aim is that staff and pupils alike will be drawn to the outdoor space in all weathers to enjoy the visual and tactile contrasts, as well as the texture, scent, motion and sound of the planting combinations.
All plants are researched and recommended according to safety (toxicity and irritation), vigour and the ability to cope with potential neglect.
Click thumbnails to view full size image gallery
Below the pergola
Plants which will tolerate dry shade, and that offer textural interest and contrast. To go into colourful planters. Includes ferns, grasses, tiarella, brunnera and alchemilla.
Each planting pocket (1.6 x 1.6m) to be planted with a single species: lambs ears for its soft furry texture; chamomile for its feathery growth and scent; epimedium for its smooth glossy leaves.
Planting for colour, taste and scent, including lavender, oregano, fennel, chives, rosemary and echinacea.
A mix of tall grasses (miscanthus, calamagrostis, stipa) to screen the seating area from the playground, providing privacy and some shading from the sun. Shorter grasses and airy perennials for texture and visual interest.