School Grounds – Northumberland

An unloved corner adjacent to the special needs unit of a Northumberland school was transformed into an immersive sensory retreat. We had a limited budget and an imaginative approach was required for the design. We left some of the existing pavers in situ and this acted as a framework for a tapestry of carefully selected plant species to spread and spill out over the paving.

We used materials and plants that allowed the students to have a varied experience. The garden was zoned to highlight each of the senses, so one area had a pond with a bubbling fountain and a listening tube, and was planted with grasses that would rustle in the breeze. Another area had tactile plants for the students to feel, another had scented plants, both flowers and leaves.

These were all punctuated with features such as a willow arbour (we used a local willow artist to work with some of the students) for quiet contemplation, some balancing blocks which doubled as seats and a rubber safety area for informal sports in the school colours.


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