Situated at Moulsecoomb Primary School in Brighton, BN2 4PA, the courtyard garden underwent a transformative renovation. The project aimed to create a water-friendly garden with a focus on education and play opportunities. Moulsecoomb Primary School was chosen for its proximity to a source protection zone, an extraction borehole, and its susceptibility to flooding.
Design and Features:
The project incorporated various Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) components. Two downpipes directed water into rain planters with letterbox outlets, which overflowed into cobble channels leading to a central retention pond. Another downpipe connected to an overhead channel with a spout feature, flowing into an ornamental pond before entering the central pond. Permeable paving and sculptural elements were integrated, ensuring efficient water management and enhancing aesthetics. The garden also featured a large pergola, pond decking, herb planters, water barrels, a chicken enclosure, and benches for outdoor activities.
Unusual Features, Challenges, and Solutions:
The project faced several challenges, including restricted access to the school courtyard through the building, making material transportation and machinery movement extremely difficult. Despite these obstacles, the team successfully overcame the logistical constraints. Working during the school term required strict safety measures to ensure the well-being of the children and staff. Moreover, supply chain disruptions caused by Brexit and COVID-19 added additional stress, but the team navigated these challenges to deliver a successful outcome.
Exceeding Client Expectations:
The client’s brief emphasized the creation of a water-friendly garden with educational and play opportunities. By incorporating SuDS components, such as rain planters, ornamental and central retention ponds, the project effectively managed rainwater and mitigated flood risks. The garden not only fulfilled the client’s expectations but exceeded them by providing a peaceful sanctuary for pupils, improving access for various abilities, reducing maintenance requirements, and enhancing the welfare of school chickens. The project also acted as an exemplar rain garden, encouraging the uptake of SuDS in other schools and supporting the city’s climate emergency response.
In conclusion, despite challenging access, supply chain issues, and the need for safe work during the school term, the revitalized courtyard garden at Moulsecoomb Primary School showcases innovative SuDS components, thoughtful design features, and a commitment to exceeding client expectations. The project has transformed the space into a water-friendly oasis, providing educational and recreational opportunities while demonstrating sustainability and resilience. The school, children, and staff are delighted with the garden, highlighting its successful outcome.