Hounslow Heath Junior School
Services: Landscape Design
The Landmark Practice was commissioned in 2019 by Hounslow Heath Junior School to transform an area of scrub, previously used as a construction compound for a new teaching block, into an outdoor classroom. The brief was to realise the opportunities that were afforded by this valuable space as an area where students could learn about and interact with the natural environment. The school staff provided a wish list for the transformation which guided the design.
Using the wish list as a starting point, Landmark’s Landscape Architects prepared a design for the outdoor classroom which was formed of two inter-connecting teaching areas which offer contrasting ways to experience the varied sights, sounds, smells and textures of the natural environment:
- The Woodland Glade – a quiet teaching space where a class can sit together under the canopy of the mature trees; and
- The Sensory Garden – an active study space where students can engage with the wildflowers, sensory planting, dipping pond and waterfall.
The space integrated the existing trees and shrubs along the boundary of the plot of land and incorporated ecological enhancements such as bird boxes, bug hotels and log piles. Earth mounding, constructed from cut material from the building works was planted with a mix of sensory plants, seeded with wildflowers, and used to form the waterfall for the dipping pond.
Natural materials were used wherever possible with bound gravel for the central path, timber perimeter fence and gates, timber deck by the dipping pond, and wooden benches and tables. Reinforced grass, circular paths and extended tabletops were incorporated to ensure that the space was accessible to wheelchair users.
The outdoor classroom was completed in the summer of 2020 and is well used by the students at Hounslow Heath Junior School who enjoy going outside to sketch, and learn about, the different plants and insects that they find.