Educational Garden Space, Orchard School, Canterbury, Kent
Educational garden, relaxing, minimalist space for pupils in an inner courtyard
A new educational garden, relaxing and minimalist space for a boring, grey flagstone courtyard seen from 3 sides contained an old pond, seating and artwork on the walls. This design creates as a space for personal reflection as well as group activities, allows pupils to be creative with the use of a chalkboard and benches. The long water feature / pond teaches pupils to care for fish, while also seeing and feeling the health benefits that static and moving water have on both our physical and mental health. The ‘S’-shaped bench is low, so that pupils cannot easily gain access to the roof space and creates movement in the space, along with soft billowing ornamental grasses and woodland planting. At the centre stands an apple tree to represent the school’s name as well as the Kent orchards that surround the city. Play and educational spaces need to offer pupils more opportunities to play safe, feel welcomed, while also being attractive, exciting and educational. Material selection addresses the requirements of the pupils, so they are high quality and the design is fit for purpose, attractive, imaginative and a real investment.