A seaside escape

Students at Westhaven School in North Somerset take solace in a calming garden by the sea

The Bristol leg of the Green Plan It Challenge 2016 saw 13 teams of secondary students go head to head to win the prize for the best garden design. Students could either choose to create a garden design for their own school or one for their local community.
 
Westhaven School in Weston-super-Mare is a purpose built school for pupils aged 7-16 years with complex barriers to learning. The school provides a unique and rich learning environment for its pupils to enhance and support independence.
 
With the help of their mentors, Alan Down, owner of Cleeve Nursery in Bristol and Victoria Wright, a biological control expert, the team of students decided to design a garden that would provide an area of relaxation for others in the school. The garden, which would be situated away from the hustle and bustle of the playgrounds, could also contribute to the health and wellbeing of the students.
 
The school is located close the beach however due to time constraints and risk assessments, the teachers are not able to arrange visits for the pupils. So the students decided that if they can’t go to the beach, they would bring the beach to the school and create a coastal garden that can be enjoyed all year round.
 
Before beginning their design, the students organised their team by discussing each of their strengths and deciding upon who would be best for the different roles including chairperson, plant researcher, aggregate researcher, costings and creative designer.
 
Once the roles were allocated, the group created a mood board using images cut from magazines to get the overall feel of their garden. They then drew out the structural elements and larger features which could be moved around until they were happy with their placement.
 
With the design agreed, the group then set about building their model. With the help of their mentors and teachers, they created their garden from recycled materials including a large wooden pallet and lolly sticks, as well as stones and foliage gathered from the garden to bring the design to life.

The team presented their model at a celebration event at Bristol Botanic Gardens to a group of assessors made up of professional gardener, Andy Whitty, Bristol City Council Parks Development Officer, Stephen Clampin, and school volunteer Andrea Bates.










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