Schools and Nurseries Design
Green Estate Landscapes works with Yard Explorers to create engaging, educational and creative outdoors spaces. Yard Explorers is an educational training and design service run by Jane Wratten, a landscape designer and primary teacher.
What makes us different?
With our combined experience of designing, building, teaching and managing school grounds, we make sure we find the best solution for your site. We offer tailor-made, inspirational advice leading to pragmatic, cost effective solutions.
There is so much on offer when considering how to improve your outside space. If money is available but no plan, there is often an understandable decision to choose some kind of ‘equipment’. Although well-designed open-ended use equipment can be of huge benefit and interest to the children, unfortunately so much on the market is not in this category.
Improvements to grounds can be offered in so many other ways that are far more cost-effective and multi-dimensional.
Whether still or moving, water is one of the most magical elements in any design. With careful thought and planning, it can be a safe place to play and learn, as well as enriching the area.
The constant presence of sand and earth outside enriches a space beyond measure. By being out and available at all times, all the children’s needs are there for them without the need for teachers to lift and store materials. This is especially useful when time is short.
Plants are often non-existent or kept to a minimum in educational settings, yet they can make a place feel so different – nurturing, green, elemental. Planting ideally needs to be robust and also useful in children’s play rather than precious and untouchable. Sensory plants with leaves, berries and flowers that are good to pick, smell and use in play will benefit a child’s experience of that place.
Shelters can be fantastic imaginary places to be, and offer space for a bit of more formal learning as well as socialising. Other, more secret places for children to be out of the view of adults are - as long as the children can still be heard – incredibly important places to include in any setting. Children will actively seek these out to either be with friends or to escape and be alone.
Places to sit can be actual seats, low walls, steps or planters with wide edges. These can double up as places to balance, jump off and as resting places for other equipment such as pipes to roll balls down. Parents need places to sit while waiting for their children, and staff need places to sit and either observe children unobtrusively or be at the same level as a standing child for a conversation.
Using different products always adds an interesting dimension, both to walk on and to look at. Games and challenges can be invented around using the different patterns and textures.
Height changes in a site can be accommodated and celebrated with ramps, steps and platforms, making access for all needs and abilities a really positive addition to the playground.
By integrating all the knowledge and understanding about the outside space you have, and combining the opportunities available with what children and staff really need and want, you will achieve the most cost effective and rewarding design solution for your site.
Pipworth Community School is a primary school in Sheffield catering for a wide range of pupils aged between 4 and 11. The school had an outdoor space which had become overgrown and was no longer usable by the staff and children. Green Estate Landscapes were asked to design and build an accessible outdoor teaching space that would reinvigorate the outdoor areas of the school.
Read about an brilliant project where Green Estates landscaping designed and build a new amphitheatre, sensory path, and meadow planting area for Woodthorpe Primary School