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Outdoor Learning; How landscaping changed Winton Primary School

The Brief
When Winton Primary School added an extension to the building, it subsequently created a courtyard area between classrooms. Whilst it was pretty much unusable in its state at the time, it was seen as a great opportunity to add a garden area, in the hopes of taking learning outside. Through the outdoor facilities, they wanted to support many curriculum areas and ultimately inspire pupils. The trick was using dynamic design to be able to fit a lot into a small space, whilst always keeping in mind strict health and safety considerations.

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BEFORE

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DURING

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DURING

The Design
By treating every nook and cranny as a viable space, the area was carefully designed to maximise the available area. Through considerate design, we were able to include two seating areas for outdoor teaching, an outdoor kitchen complete with sinks and pizza ovens, science facilities including a weather station, a chicken coop and, of course, space for gardening and growing vegetables.

Sustainability and ecology were two important themes for this project, in the hopes of teaching the next generation how to properly do their part in consciously and willingly taking care of our planet. Water butts for conserving water, and up-cycled materials to create the outdoor furniture were two ways in which we addressed these themes.

We also created a quiet area including scented plants and herbs designed to stimulate children with specialist educational needs and add another sensory element.

Work in Progress
This project was successfully undertaken to a tight deadline as work had to be completed during the school holidays. Access to the site was quite a challenge as the courtyard is surrounded by buildings, making it difficult to get larger equipment and materials into the space. However, through meticulous planning, we were able to overcome these issues and manage an extensive brief to create a great design for the space that packs a huge number of learning opportunities into this small outdoor area.

In addition to this, strict health and safety regulations and fire safety guidelines had to be followed to ensure the new garden learning zone provided a safe environment for pupils and teachers.

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The End Result
The photographs speak for themselves with this project! We were able to create a well laid out environment that offers opportunities for children to do practical experiments, and spend more time outside. Year on year the children continue to see the real results of their efforts in gardening, growing and caring for the environment, harvesting the fruits and vegetables that they grow and even cooking them (with the help of teachers) in the garden’s pizza ovens. It also gives teachers the scope for creative lessons that make learning fun for everyone. Since its completion, and the follow on efforts of the school, they have been presented with a RHS 5 star Gardening School award.

This entire project was incredibly rewarding, and an excellent example of just how much landscaping and gardening can change our lives.

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Dorset Design Build; At Your Service
Dorset Design Build are the designers and makers of truly inspiring landscaping, the likes of which give homeowners a completely new found love for their gardens. With over 20 years experience, and an exacting eye for detail, their team of talented builders bring their matchless designs (or indeed the designs of others) to life, using the finest quality materials and construction-minded technique. So, whether you’re looking for a remodelled hedgerow or a full renovation, get in-touch and find out what they could do for you.

For more information contact Dorset Design Build on:
t. 01202 981669
w. www.dorsetdesignbuild.co.uk
e. info@dorsetdesignbuild.co.uk

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