A Small Bed with Big Impact

The Brief

To transform a previously uninspiring but highly visible raised bed outside the main entrance of South Wonston Primary School.

Regularly spending money replacing annuals and still only creating limited interest in the winter months, this village school wanted to improve an uninspiring bedding area which pupils, parents, teachers and visitors pass daily as they approach the main school entrance.

With a small space and limited budget, they wanted to create an attractive, impactful and uplifting approach, with year-round interest that stimulates a sense of well-being.

My Design

I suggested a high impact but low maintenance varied planting scheme which incorporates lots of movement, texture, colour, structure and attracts pollinating insects to interest the children.  Sourcing plants, checking them over, laying them out, planting and regularly reviewing them, it has been a joy to see the effect this transformed little bed has had.

Designed to give year-round, evergreen interest and structure from topiary box balls, the bed is a softer, more welcoming entrance to both the school and the neighbouring church which shares its approach. 

The children love to see the visiting butterflies, bees and are often spotted running their hands over the topiary box balls as they pass.

The planting scheme has developed further this year with a plain deciduous hedge removed from under the office window and replanted with low maintenance plants that give year-round interest and complement the neighbouring raised bed.

The space now really reflects the school’s values of nurturing, inspiring and achieving.


“The raised bed is fabulous. Truly transformed!  Previously difficult to keep looking good, it is now really attractive all year round and low maintenance.  From the design to planting, Nicola has been easy to work with, providing creative ideas and suggestions that took us in a direction we would never have thought of ourselves. I would not hesitate to work with PLOT again.”

Jane Bundy, Headteacher South Wonston Primary School.

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