In June 2014 we were commissioned by Southwark Charities to transform the communal lawn of their almshouse into a thriving and welcoming space. The essence of the brief was to encourage more people out of their flats, into the space, and to ensure access for those with limited mobility.

As with all our projects, we consulted with residents about what they would like to see in the space, and involved learners in the design and procurement process. Over a month we extracted more than 25 tons of lawn, topsoil and rubble – by hand. We brought in the same amount of material in the form of fresh compost, reclaimed bricks and aggregate for the path base.

We planted over 150 mature shrubs and climbers – particular stars among which were the Solanum jasminoides (potato vine) and three varieties of Cotinus (smoke bush).

One year on from the garden’s creation, and the cherry tree is dripping with soft red fruit, and bees are buzzing all over the Nepeta (catmint) and the Jasmine.

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