Kingfisher House,
Juniper Drive,
Battersea Reach,
SW18 1TX

Academy, Playgrounds.


The headteacher of Gateway School, Louisa Lochner, first appointed us as design and build contractors in 2009 and phase 1 of the project was completed in 2010. The existing playground was a typically dull space with wall to wall tarmac, and soft surfacing and high walls and the old outdoor toilet was no longer fit for purpose. Mrs Lochner’s brief was to create two inspirational playgrounds, with a wow factor that would be something that the children could enjoy all year round.

Client : Gateway Academy

Landscape Designer : Bartholomew Landscaping

Construction and Project Management : Bartholomew Landscaping

Awards : Winner of a British Association of Landscape Industries Principal award for Community and Schools Development and the special award for best design and build project


With this in mind, we prepared a brief and initial sketch design that was presented to the school in the form of 3D models and fly through movies.

The school were extremely excited by the proposals and work started on the playground a few weeks later. We carefully fenced off the areas of construction during the works so that the school could maintain access across the site safely and operate normally at all times. The majority of the works, except for the demolitions, were undertaken during term time as it was felt that it was important that the children could see the work in progress and understand what is involved in building things. The children were able to watch the progress from the safety of their classrooms and from behind transparent fencing. Bartholomew landscaping employees were introduced to the pupils and talked to them about the project.

Throughout the playground, we introduced paving in brick, cobbles, natural stone, coloured safety surfacing and resin bound gravel in contrasting colours. The different textures provide immediate interest. Paths were laid to meander throughout the playground linking the various spaces and so encourage flowing movement and imaginative play. Using these techniques to define key areas we were able to create a range of spaces for both active play and quieter areas for social interaction and study.


A lovely, handmade thank you card from Gateway Nursery staff and students

A lovely, handmade thank you card from Gateway Nursery staff and students


The boundary wall of the playground was chosen as the location for a raised deck and playhouse. Linking to this a mound has been created using waste material from the excavations and covered in faux grass. The mound has a tunnel running through it with viewing dome in the centre that encourages interactive play.

We included a lot of natural products and materials. A stage was positioned in each playground to encourage the children to create their own shows and raised planting beds with planting and digging space were located around some existing trees.

An existing shelter was adapted to include an all-weather sandpit and a bespoke counter/workbench was located with a retractable canopy over to act as a shop. Small intimate seating areas were located around the gardens to encourage quiet interaction and enable children to have quieter moments together.