49A Alexandra Rd. Ringwood East (2018)
Note: This garden was opened in 2018
Richard Bellemo and the RB Landscapes team were excited to have the opportunity to redesign the school grounds at Eastwood Primary School in Ringwood.
The brief was to transform the existing school grounds into a natural play space full of interactive elements and opportunities for students to learn, explore and engage with their natural environment.
Crucial to the design was the use of reclaimed, recycled and locally sourced materials (where possible) to demonstrate the sustainable use of materials, and to create a level of familiarity for the students around sustainable principles. Timber used in the construction of boardwalks and decking platforms was reclaimed and salvaged from building sites and fallen trees, while the tipi was sourced from the local Kinglake area. Using local material supports local industries, while reducing transport emissions and costs.
Some of the elements the RB Landscapes team were able to incorporate in this space include:
Outdoor Kitchen with Wood fired Oven
The Outdoor Kitchen, equipped with Earthen Wood fire Oven offers a teaching space and the opportunity for children to hone their cooking skills. The alfresco dining area, created from recycled tyres and timber, provides an area for social interaction and communal eating, and further creates a level of comfort around the everyday presence of recycled materials in a living space.
The inclusion of the creek system, allows for the capturing and filtration of storm water. Water runs from the roof into ponds and is then diverted via swales into an underground tank which feeds back into the creek. A wetland at the end of the creek system purifies the water, which then gets recirculated back up the creek. This creek and wetland system offers a unique learning opportunity where students can participate in studies of invertebrates, water management and water quality. Rocks and logs line the creek edge, encouraging children to sit and relax. The sound of the gently running water offers relaxation during recess, and allows students to return to class rejuvenated.
An opportunity for children to interact with chickens and learn about self-sufficiency and food production.
Circular Decking platform
A meeting place designed to encourage group activity and discussion.
Water play pump
The terraced rock platform area includes a manually operated water pump. As students operate the hand pump a stream of water makes its way along the top of wall, before spilling off the end and into a hidden underground storage tank ready for re-circulation.
Exercise station with water play pump
Stationary bikes are placed within a timber boardwalk, and offer a fun way to exercise and stretch the legs during recess. The nearby sand pit, surrounded by terraced platforms, includes a manually operated water pump, which builds strength and fitness, and gives opportunities for wet sand play.
Outdoor class room
A timber structure, constructed from vertical recycled railway sleepers, surrounds a round central table and offers an outdoor class room area and an alternative space to meet and play. This structure is multi-functional, offering an area for propagation, where students can gather seedlings and cuttings from the surrounding raised veggie garden beds.
The finished award winning landscape successfully creates a fully interactive outdoor play space, where students and the wider community can learn, explore and engage with the natural environment.