We wanted to create a garden area that would be inviting, calming and safe for the people who attend Pinfold suite at .
Our initial design ideas have developed, and some new ideas have been brought into the mix, but the rationale and focus for the development have stayed the same throughout.
There are some key areas of focus which have had to remain, to make the space suitable and accessible to all:
To provide plenty of shade – we’ve installed a pergola which will have climbing plants as well as two canopies with seating under them.
To be a stimulating but calming environment - a café design will be painted onto a cladded wall which also has bistro seating under a canopy attached to it, to simulate the experience of sitting outside a high street café. There’s also a wall-hung bus stop sign and a bench for people to rest on and to assist with diffusing people’s anxiety. Our new planters have been built, installed and filled with soil and compost and people are starting to enjoy the space by planting some spring seeds and some veg which will grow over the year. We recently had a team of staff volunteers very generously donating their time to plant some evergreens in the outside borders of the garden, which will eventually cover the fencing to make the space feel more private and calming.
To be safe and secure - this is required as some of the people we support would be at risk if they left the premises without staff support. Our secure gates mean that people can walk freely without a staff member having to watch over them, giving them greater, safe, independence. As the shrubs and plants grow these will also distract people who are using the garden from the gates and so reduce any anxiety created by the visual exit.
Our initial plans included creating a beach area with a sand box but we have decided to swap this for the café, which is more hygienic (there were concerns about anything unwanted getting into the sand), less of a trip hazard and is still a stimulating feature. We’ll be adding our water feature as planned, as this will stimulate different senses again to the textures and smells we already have.
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