Bowles & Wyer

A new landscape in one month

Written by Rosa Hinton

Although we have often faced challenges when designing and constructing a new landscape, this project has to be one of the quickest we’ve ever had to do. A unique opportunity, a worthy cause and a momentous challenge – this is the start of a series of blogs which follows this ambitious landscape project…

“So, we have to agree a design by this time next week, break ground the week after and be all finished three weeks after that. Is that OK for everyone?” These were the closing remarks from the CEO of St George’s Hospital Charity at a hurriedly arranged site meeting last Friday. The hospital charity had just received new funding, as part of the Sir Captain Tom NHS fundraising from earlier this year. And what better way to invest this than into a landscape to last?

Although located on a sloping site, the hospital enjoys a large green area in front of the main entrance. However, it’s looking worn and the valuable space isn’t being used enough. Developing a new landscape would make a huge difference to people entering and leaving the hospital, as it’s located next to the main walkway and entrance. With a new design, we want to create a variety of seating areas for hospital visitors, as well as inviting pathways and a new planting scheme to improve the aesthetic and biodiversity of the space.

The existing landscape in front of St George's Hospital

It’s been long proven that green spaces can have a positive effect on healing, and we’ve seen from our NHS 70 Garden at Addenbrooke’s Hospital how a tranquil and restorative green space can be a welcome retreat for both the staff and visitors at a hospital. In short, green spaces at hospitals are incredibly important for our wellbeing and health.

NHS 70 Garden at Addenbrooke's Hospital

We’re delighted to be transforming this space at St George’s Hospital, but the timeline is undeniably tight. From our initial meeting with the charity last week, our team of designers are now working hard to create a new scheme in just one week. It means our team are having to work more collaboratively than ever (on Microsoft Teams), with the pressure of getting this highly public space ‘right’.

Whilst time is ticking on until their deadline at the end of this week, the plan is to complete construction three weeks later – ready to be shown on national television! The budget needs to be just as hard-working too. This project is going to be one of collaboration if it’s achieved – between the hospital charity, our designers, our construction team and our suppliers, obtaining the lowest cost possible for this truly worthy cause.

So look out for our next blog, when we’ll be sharing our final design and updating you on our progress on this ambitious project…

September 28, 2020