Peninsula Specialist College

Richard Bellemo and the RB Landscapes team were contracted to convert what was essentially an unutilised blank canvas within the school grounds, into a natural play space full of interactive elements and opportunities for the students to explore.

Variety of interaction was the key focus behind the design.

Some of the elements the RB Landscapes team were able to incorporate in this space include:

Water play rock wall.

A manually operated water pump sits at the highest point on one end of the wall. 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.

Deciduous Forest.

A deciduous forest of Acer freemanii provides year round interest. Shade in the warmer months and an eye catching display of colour during Autumn. Students will enjoy scrunching and crunching fallen leaves and when they are finished the school is left with a great ingredient to add to their compost pile.

Lean-to shelter.

Constructed as a natural alternative design to the more traditional cubby house.

Log arbour.

A log arbour towers above the student’s heads as they make their way between classrooms. Perched at the top of the arbour are a series of mirrors reflecting down upon the students below.

Log steppers.

A series of logs of varying height and diameter, standing on end to form natures balance/climbing gym.

Decking platforms.

A place to sit, wind down and potentially study.

Ornamental timber planters.

An eye catching point of interest in themselves, these planters have been planted out with various sensory plants. Sight, sound, touch, taste and smell can all be explored here.

Circular log meeting area.

A meeting place designed to encourage group activity and discussion.

Interactive bike wheel screen.

A physical barrier/screen, designed primarily to hide a number of reverse cycle air conditioning units which otherwise detracted from the overall feel of the landscape. However this unique screen implementation is also an interactive experience for the students as they can turn and spin each of these wheels independent of the next, which can be quite visually stimulating.

Grassy mound.

A grassy mound provides not only a vantage point in the landscape, but also an opportunity for kids to be kids, rolling and tumbling their way to the bottom.

Feedback received from both students and staff suggests the team has been successful in creating an interactive wonderland that will be enjoyed by many for a long time to come.

From a staff member of the school:

I was lucky enough to be in the playground during all junior and senior recesses today. So I had one and a half hours to witness and photograph the sheer and absolute delight and wonderment of our students (and staff) as they experienced the new 'outdoor space' for the first time.

That sort of communal joy is rare. There were smiles on faces that rarely smile.

You, your plans, plants, designs....the amazing dedication and warmth and approachability of your team have made this project so real, relevant and tangible for ALL of our students!

Thanks a million trillion!

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