Groundwork Landscape Architects

Glade Garden at The Royal Marsden2 min read

ROLE: Concept to Completion

LOCATIONS: The Oak Centre for Children and Young People at The Royal Marsden, Sutton

CLIENT: The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity

Background & Objectives: 

The Royal Marsden Oak Centre for Children and Young People is one of the largest children’s cancer treatment centres in Europe, with over 600 inpatients and over 5000 day patients every year.

The Glade Garden began as an idea of Jackie Debonnaire whose daughter, Ella Gracie, who received treatment at The Royal Marsden for leukemia, but who sadly passed away. Jackie wanted to create “a safe, stimulating and fun outdoor space, where children and their friends and families can find a sense of normality and ease, in a world bound by regime and uncertainty.”

Design Solution 

In consultation with the Royal Marsden, children at the centre and their families, we worked with Jackie to realize her concept design for The Glade, a multifunctional garden with magical, sensory play features, including a wooden tepee and wall mounted chime bars. The design and seating allows for distinct semi-private spaces while the linear nature of the area also allows for group play and social gatherings to take place. The cheerful colours, natural materials, lush green planting and pergola all help create a friendly, protected, cosy and natural space for both parents and children. We selected plants and other features for their sensory appeal, to create a safe, stimulating environment that children want to explore.

Our Landscape Architects worked with Allergy UK (

to ensure that the trees and plants chosen for the garden were all safe and suitable for children going through cancer treatment.


Carly Snowball, Divisional Nurse Director for Children and Young People said “Children going through cancer treatment are still children, who want to go outside and play, and it’s fantastic that we now have a lovely outdoor area where they can let off steam and run around. It will also be somewhere where families and friends can go and take a moment to relax, away from the clinical area of the centre which can sometimes be very busy.”

Funded by supporters of The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity (link: together with generous contributions from garden and building suppliers.

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Jane Everitt

Lead Landscape Architect

London Team

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