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The first of our two locations for the Nature Needs Heroes campaign, we had a great time working with staff and students to create a tranquil space for students to engage with nature.

The brief was not easy! We had to install a garden that would be looking its best, camera-ready, at the end of October. Luckily, our suppliers at Wyevale were able to pick out the best-looking plants in the days before delivery, and ensured that the autumnal colours were blazing!

It was also our first time working with a camera crew during a build, so the scheduling was tight and our prayers for fair weather were granted.

We were asked to create a space where students could escape the hustle and bustle of daily life at school. It is a performing arts college, so there is almost always noise coming from rehearsal rooms. Our initial idea for a noisy water feature fountain could not be realised because it was too tricky to run a mains power supply for a pump. So we tried to create some secluded spaces where small groups could gather and be surrounded by vegetation on all sides.

brit school design urban growth nature needs heroes
We designed two main areas for gathering, both providing a sense of enclosure and privacy.

The build took place over three days, on the last of which Loyle joined us for the planting, and so we could talk him through the design and the specific plants. The second day was a chance for students and staff to get involved with the ground works and laying out of plants, as well as the construction of the two raised beds and pergola.

Mindful of the grounds’ staff busy schedule, the plants are low maintenance, requiring only some annual pruning to keep in shape. The flowering season of the plants overlaps so that there should be something in bloom almost every month, with a profusion of spring bulbs to get the new year off to a bang.

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