CEC Landscape were commissioned to produce a tender package for a primary school playground following the successful creation of an outline design. The scheme used a naturalistic design to create an integrated playscape with a Cornish theme.
The process included working up the sketch design to a level of detail suitable for costing, tendering and construction purposes. CEC produced a package of information including hard works plans, planting plans, detailed drawings, an NBS specification and a costing breakdown. The design included a number of bespoke play features and these were fully detailed. Items included a Cornish hedge play feature, water pump with play puddle, rill and sandpit, cycle track with a variety of surfaces, timber structures, willow domes, raised beds for food growing. Landform and natural features such as stone boulders and timber poles were used throughout to create an interesting and coherent space. The planting scheme provided a tough but stimulating choice of plants with a wide variety of form, texture, colour and scent. The tender package also allowed for re-use of some site materials to assist with keeping costs down.
The design, developed with the school, balances many needs to create a multi-functional playground with an underlying theme of natural play. The whole playground is seen as a playable landscape that integrates many varied play features and can also accommodate outdoor teaching, access, assembly points, storage and other school requirements.
A cycle/scooter path loops through the playground using different materials, textures and gradients to provide an interesting and varied route. A sinuous Cornish hedge using local stone and planted provides something to clamber on or a place to sit for teaching. A hand cranked water pump feeds a play puddle which runs in to a rill and then a sand pit where water and sand combine to allow sandcastles to be built. To one corner of the site is a quiet space for story telling, protected by a living willow dome. Raised beds provide a place to grow food and the planting that runs through the design was selected not only for its robustness but for its colour, scent and texture.
The School subsequently received an ‘outstanding’ in its Ofsted inspection in 2010 which stated: ‘there are well thought out plans to improve the outdoor learning facilities to further improve outdoor learning and children’s physical skills’ .