Green well-being space for The King’s School, Canterbury, Kent, UK
To design a new well-being garden in the centre of Canterbury for the UK’s oldest independent school
A rare opportunity to design and create a new accessible garden in the centre of a city for The King’s School in Canterbury. The old synagogue now used for music recitals has a small outdoor space surrounded on three sides by properties. The bursar and head teacher want to create a new green well-being garden for pupils – somewhere to go, relax, be taught and even a place for one-on-one therapy sessions. Around the synagogue is a an old pathway leading to a small outbuilding and two distinct spaces separated by a wall and gate. The design will focus on a welcoming mixed herbaceous border leading off the high street and weaving through to the spaces behind. Privacy will be maintained with the use of pleached and other ornamental trees. One space will be for meetings, with benches, herbs and SUDS compliant materials, while the quieter area will be a green oasis. Verdant planting, with highlights from white, pink and blue will relax the body and mind, while the scent-filled air will calm the spirit. Canterbury is a lively city and pupils are encouraged to learn about the history of this magnificent place. A 21st-century education within the illustrious history of the oldest school in the country, dating back to 597 AD. This modern lifestyle needs to be addressed in the garden, and while it is a space for respite modern technologies, such as charging points and WiFi connection are essential.
It is an honour to design this new garden which will grow with the school, as new pupils use it year in year out. Schools need outdoor spaces. When imaginatively developed, school gardens can contribute to curriculum teaching and learning, and to better recreational and social interaction of their pupils. As well as contributing strongly to children’s understanding of ‘green’ issues, they can make a positive impact on the sustainability of the schools and their locality. They can also encourage children to take part in a range of physical activities, which contribute so much to their health and well-being.
Other examples of designs for school gardens can be found here.