Julia’s House Children’s Hospice
November 2016 – June 2017
To be honest this was the most wonderful project and it was an absolute privilege to be involved with this large-scale project creating a sensory garden for the renowned children’s hospice.
With a Neolithic theme, the garden is divided into a number of areas, all accessible to wheelchair users and children with poor mobility. Planting is sensory, safe and colourful. Materials are hardwearing, textural and attractive, with beautiful stone walls, woven hazel fencing, oak sleepers (rounded off for softer edges) and soft rope handrails. Dotted around the garden mixed into the planting are large stone boulders to continue the main theme along with panels of cave art. A large Neolithic style stone carving for visually impaired children is embedded into the wall in the lower garden.
This area is slightly tucked away from the rest of the garden; it can be screened off with a moving willow wall and also accessed from the front of the hospice. Primarily an area for quiet reflection this small decked area surrounds a beautiful Beech tree, has gentle soft planting, a beautiful stone water feature and bench seating. When not being used as a reflective space this position gives a view across the whole garden.
A large decking space tucked into a curve provides an area for team meetings, games and general play. Surrounded by bamboo for a lovely rustling noise and movement.
A funky little bright spot in the middle of the garden. An astro-sofa with waterproof cushions, Perspex and wooden light catchers, solar standard lamp are all surrounded by bright colourful planting. A great little space for story time.
A curved room of tall oak sleepers housing the wheelchair trampoline with some textural planting.
An inviting space built of beautiful stone curving down and around hug you into this space. A large feature stone monolith with running water, a beautiful Acer that will grow in time to provide shade, nooks have been left in the wall planted with sempervivems, cave art panels and bench seating provide another area to explore.
The EPDM pathway (its slightly bouncy!) throughout the garden is bordered where possible with planting to provide added interest and texture.
This large area provides a much-needed open area with a lawn, bucket swing, more sensory planting, a pergola with scented jasmine, wind chimes, motion sensor sound effects and a feeling of space. An ammonite has been embedded into the wall here as a link to Julia’s House in Broadstone and in turn there is a Devizes White Horse on one of the curved walls in their garden.
“Hi Sarah. I have been meaning to let you know how much wonderful feedback we’ve been getting about your garden design. We’ve done tours for many children & families, staff, volunteers, and members of the public, and everyone has loved the garden. Such a clever use of a tight space, linking the levels so well, and using materials throughout that are variously fun, uplifting, or reflective. Just superb.
Huge thanks and well done to you Sarah… and of course, if you need me to provide references to future clients, do use me as and when.”
Chief Executive, Julia’s House
“From the initial meeting where requirements and aspirations for the garden were discussed it was evident that Sarah firmly grasped the concept of what we wanted to achieve for the children. Initial sketches were produced within days and were so good and met the brief so well that the final design was agreed within a week of the first meeting.
Due to the differing levels across the garden, I really feel that this would have proved problematic to a less accomplished designer. Sarah took all of this in her stride and produced a design that met not only the feeling of fun that we needed but also the DDA requirements so that less mobile children would still be able to access all areas of the finished garden. Throughout the project Sarah worked very well with the Project Team and had positive input regarding any issues that arose during the construction of the hard landscaping aspect of the garden.
Feedback from staff, children, funders and visitors regarding the garden has all been excellent. A local school that had raised funds for the project were invited to a tour of the new hospice and the children spent much of the time enjoying the outside facilities; all agreed that it was the most fun that they had had in a garden!
On a personal note Sarah worked closely with myself and proved to be enthusiastic, knowledgeable, professional and talented. She has produced an outside space of exceptional design that the children who we support will enjoy for many years to come. We, as an organisation, cannot thank her enough for adding another dimension to our wonderful new hospice. Many thanks.”
Facilities Manager, Julia’s House Children’s Hospice