127_2786The play landscape in this Norfolk village was created  to partly replace, as well as enhance an existing fenced play area with wooden and other equipment, which was set wide apart and surrounded by grass. This adjoins an area of the local recreation ground and a small area of woodland/hedgerow.

I was commissioned to provide design and specification plus project management advice. There was an initial budget of £50,000, funded by the Government Playbuilder programme plus contributions from local organisations.

The brief focused on three main objectives:

1. Expanding the play space – using the identified budget and the Design Brief as a starting point, expand and link the existing play space so as to utilise the play opportunities offered by the nearby wood/ hedgerow, allowing for future fundraising and community self-build.

 2. Enhancing Play Value –  increase the number and range of play opportunities for all abilities and ages, focusing on 8-13 year olds and with some provision for toddlers.

 3. Creating an attractive community space – create a welcoming, attractive space for children and adults which is coherent, provides interest through varied height and colour, creates a sense of discovery, uses existing/ donated play equipment (where possible), and landscape features to create play value and enhance the appearance of the space.

The resulting design extends the play area into a larger space (requiring the movement of a football pitch) and integrates this with retained, refurbished play equipment. Old fencing was removed and replaced with shrub planting and trees to indicate boundaries, an existing mound and new grass mounds were created to provide play features and to house a tunnel, wide slide with graded wheelchair access and aerial cableway. There is a wooden climbing feature, plus additional play equipment for toddlers and older children, including a simple wood slice spiral with spring bulbs planted to mark this, a log seating area/ social space, basket swing, spinners, and areas of longer grass. The project was substantially completed by June 2010.

Old School Gardener

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