Groundwork Landscape Architects

Meadows Children’s Centre2 min read

ROLE: Landscape Architects from conception to completion

LOCATIONS: The Meadows, Nottingham.

CLIENT: Meadows Children’s Centre

Background & Objectives: 

The Surestart Children’s Centre garden was an uninteresting dull area with little for young children to enjoy. The garden contained overgrown trees which created dark and dingy spaces, no play features and as a consequence was unloved and unused.

The staff at the centre approached Groundwork to create a garden which would provide many play and learning opportunities and allow children and staff to be able to use the outdoor space throughout the year.

Design Solution 

We carried out a full consultation with children, parents and carers and staff at the centre to enable us to create a new garden which met their needs and aspirations. The consultation focused on what the children and staff wanted to be able to do in the garden, we then created a design solution to enable a variety of activities and experiences to be achieved.

The new garden includes; a story telling area with natural timber stools and bespoke story-telling chair, a cycle track for bikes and wheeled toys, a music space with drums and glockenspiel, sand pits which when the lids are closed become another outdoor seating area with sensory planting to enhance the experience, a variety of challenging timber climbers and balance equipment, a den making area and ‘Hobbit’ house set within an newly created undulating landform, raised beds for vegetable growing, a climbing wall and mural was added to the blank boundary walls.


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The garden now provides the children year round use, it enables children to play freely and encourages imaginative and social play whilst also providing physical challenges. Staff are able to use the garden for story-telling, vegetable growing, musical and creative sessions with groups of children, preparing them for the more structured school learning environment.

Paved areas and footpaths ensure that the garden is usable even during wet winter months and open grassed spaces allow staff to create flexible experiences with mobile equipment and toys.

Jo Phelan

Principal Landscape Architect

East Midlands Team


Nottingham City Council Early Years Fund.

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