The landscapers have all but finished the large wildlife garden I designed for a primary school in Hackney, North London. I’m particularly pleased with the bridge/pond-dipping platform, which is made of a recycled material I’ve not used before. It looks really natural, but won’t collect algae or get slippery, so no maintenance. We had to make the handrail out of wood though, so we’ve stained it a different colour.
I’ve designed the garden around a central meadow with a circular path, with the idea that not all the garden should be visible at once – I want the children to approach it with a sense of adventure. So I’ve put in a long, sinewy living willow tunnel along one side of the path, which, once in leaf, will conceal one of the ‘bug hotels’ and the living arbour at the back, and have the added advantage of hiding the shed and compost bins. The turf mound which skirts one of the paths is made from spoil from the ponds we dug out
The mound looks rather neat at the moment; but I’m going to let it get long to encourage insects, and just strim it occasionally. We’ve had to go with artificial lawn, so that the children can use the garden all the year round, so it’s important that the planting softens the effect.