Working with AHMM on a new day centre hospice in Enfield, North London, BBUK created two courtyard gardens for the use both visitors and staff. Both courtyards paved with handmade brick pavers to tie in with the material of the building. The southern courtyard has a brick clad raised pond in its centre filled with a aquatic planting; a higher reflective pool, spills into the lower pool. Slate copings, chosen to match building’s window frames, are set at the height to provide informal seating. Square beds are planted with blue and white flowering shrubs and perennials. The north courtyard is more public, connecting the café and bounded by the street. Groves of large flowering shrubs provide some privacy to the garden and building users without entirely blocking views into or from the building. The car park is surfaced in porous resin bound aggregate and the courtyards are paved in handmade clay bricks laid over a recycled sub-base achieving a minimum Green Guide rating for hard materials of A throughout.

The challenge for BBUK lay in creating a space that did not feel institutional but was simply a beautiful garden that was an extension of the building. This was achieved and the space, whilst being sustainable and universally accessible for the often physically impaired users, also complied will all NHS standards and guidelines.

The Hospice wanted the planting to have an instant impact, partly because many of the hospice users are close to the end of their lives so simply do not have the time to wait until the landscape matures; this had to be balanced by the very tight budget. Therefore BBUK specified all underplanting in the scheme be specified in 9cm pots (the smallest container size available) with key shrubs specified as large specimens, creating a mature looking garden from the outset. Substantial savings were also made with the omission of a high garden wall surrounding the rear courtyard garden this was replaced with an evergreen hedge; the hedge has the advantage of providing a natural green screen to the space.

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