Scone Grammar School NSW
Scone Grammar School is a educational campus located in the heart of Scone NSW. The rural township is located 4 hours north west of Sydney and is generally regarded as the horse capital of Australia due to it’s expansive horse studs that provide some of the nations greatest thoroughbred champions. Jamie Bacon Landscape Design was engaged to develop a interactive school playground which a number of key factors had to be considered.
Playground Design, Where to Start?
Scone Grammar School is a very progressive campus. From our very first design meeting it was immediately clear of the passion and dedication the teaching staff and wonderful parents & friends association have for the welfare of the students. The school defined an area located within the footprint of the primary school that required redevelopment. The school had previously undertaken a extensive report into the behaviour of students interacting with their external classroom environment. This report became critical in the overall design philosophy. Other factors in playground design included how the students interacted with the current space, Scone weather patterns, student traffic, budget and sustainability.
Pictured below is the current primary school space.
The Balanced Landscape Design
After considering all factors we wanted to develop a interactive play space, one that is affordable to construct & one that created a sense of mystery & fun. In the era of our children being exposed to all the latest gadgets, it was important that in designing this space we could remind the students of the fun of being outdoors, that technology and the outdoors environment can co-exist with equal importance and engagement.
It was clear that natural turf would not be an option. The current space is subject to high traffic, this is clearly shown in the above photo where the natural turf has worn away. Compaction of turf combined with the local environmental conditions ruled out the use of a organic solution. The new design pictured below will feature the latest in high quality synthetic turf as the main playground pavement.
Taking on the important recommendations found in the schools report into the students interaction with their outdoor play environment, we developed the concept of a magical and interactive maze. The maze features low hedging that can be trimmed on maturity to a range of height. We also developed removable, relocatable and rotating maze dividers. These dividers can be utilised as information boards by the class and by doing so create another opportunity to engage in a ‘outdoor classroom’ environment.
It’s All About Balance
Another important component of the playground design is the rainbow coloured climbing bollard/steppers. The children’s concentration and development of balance is tested via a range of undulating timber bollards. Children can climb the bollards, walk across the sandstone seating blocks and on to more bollard steppers that lead through a small garden. This creates another interesting area for the children to refine skills and simply have fun.
A Place To Sit & Enjoy
Seating within the re design space was another major factor. We re-designed timber seating around the existing London Plane Tree that also will act as retainment for a new sandpit located under the tree. We included timber bench seating bordering the maze entrance and large format sandstone blocks as another area to sit, study and reflect within the design. We also suggested the use of more ‘Picnic’ style table and seating arrangements in areas that currently could benefit from this form of seating.
The Landscape Masterplan
The final playground design we are all very proud of. It is not complicated, but displays clean lines and balance. It’s also a space that over time will continue to develop and can be modified to suit the growing needs of the students. The design reinforces the main recommendations found within the school report but also delivers that special magical feeling of exploring that we all as children once shared.
The design is soon to go to tender/quote stage for construction. We would like to thank the staff, management, parents & friends of Scone Grammar School for having faith in us and engaging the services of Jamie Bacon Landscape Design.
Below the final 3D Playground Design Visualisations
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