Robert Le Kyng School

Designed and built for Barnado's in Swindon for use by children 2-4 years old.

Barnardos had allocated a sum of money to construct a landscaped garden to entertain their classes of young children throughout their time at the center. Several landscaping companies had let the development committee down and as at Crudwell Pre-School, Grassroots Landscaping was contacted to see the project fulfilled. Most of the allocated money had already spent on the security fencing, leaving a tiny proportion for Lester and his team to work with.

His answer was to go "cap in hand" to his regular suppliers in an attemt to collate enough materials to build a wonderful playground.

Before

The center was fortunate to possess a modern play area built on a safe rubberised surface. Unfortunately, it was limited in size and really was not adventurous enough to satisfy the playfulness and energy exhibited by the children. The newly fenced in rectangle of rough grass could, if designed imaginatively, provide the children with the perfect environment for educational aswell as physical play. Lester set to to design something that tried hard to disguise the ugly and forboding security fence and also which could recycle the existing materials within the site, namely 30 square crates and a couple of large bags of woodchip! The center had briefed Lester to keep the area as natural as possible, to provide the children with a splash area, a mud zone, possibly an exploration maze and climbing frame, some interesting planting and equally important, was to include a vegetable growing zone that parents might beable to interact with. As you can see from the image on the left, the site was large and very long! It was going to be tough not to confuse this area for a prison exercise yard!!

Design

Lester spent many hours on the telephone convincing his suppliers that some charity was needed to fulfill the dreams of Barnardos children. And most of them came up trumps. WEBBSWOOD TIMBER from Faringdon were the most generous supplying all of the timber for the planned build. PERRY PLANT HIRE provided a 3t digger! SANSUMS SAND AND GRAVEL donated all of the hardcore alond with ANDY NURDEN'S MALMESBURY GARDEN CENTER, who provided much needed soil. ROGERS GARDENSTONE gave all the paving slabs and GREENHILL NURSERIES at Hook provided the trees and shrubs. There was also generous support from B&Q, Blooms Garden Center and BLACKFORDS TURF AND TOPSOIL. Lester also managed to get some further funding from farmers and friends!!

Now Lester needed to devise a plan which could make use of the incredible donations. He also called upon the services of two fantastic carpenters, Neil Woodford and Craig King, both regular tradesmen for Grassroots Landscaping. They built everything you can see within the new garden, whilst the landscaping team headed up by Lester started to construct the shapes, contours and flow.

Conclusion

"A wonderful space for children to play, in a safe and inspiring area." Was one comment from one of a myriad of dignitories and parents that came together to open the garden in April 2012 (see the video above). The garden's main entrance teases you through a tunnel of colourful purple cherry trees. They meander around a shallow rock pool set within a safe climbing cliff that stretches upto a sloping lawn area. Two routes direct you around and between a maze of planted crates. The planters are full of a variety of spring flowering bulbs and herbaceous flora. White trunked birch trees and red stemmed dogwoods give an attractive and friendly colouration with the evergreen laurels. The destination of these zig-zagging paths is a seated den, a worthy prize for adventurous souls. Further round, is the castle, but beware, a wrong step will take you through the mud pit! Onwards and through the romantic fruit seats, you are entering Mr Macgregors vegetable garden. Large beds of desirable veg, serviced by some compost heaps a fire pit and even a large garden shed with it's own deck for sitting and relaxing upon!.