The outdoor environment of a school is an essential component of the learning experience. It provides students with an opportunity to connect with nature, engage in physical activities, and socialise with their peers. A well-designed outdoor space can foster creativity, enhance learning, and improve the overall well-being of students. When designing for outdoor spaces in an educational environment, designers can utilise concrete paving and landscape elements to achieve certain design outcomes.
Concrete paving is an excellent option for schools because of its practicality as a durable, low maintenance material. It is resistant to damage from heavy foot traffic, weather, and can last for many years. The durability of concrete paving makes it an ideal choice for high-traffic areas such as playgrounds, walkways, and outdoor sports arenas. Additionally, concrete paving can be designed in various colours, shapes, patterns and textures to provide a visually appealing landscape.
Outdoor seating areas can be created by using a combination of paving, furniture and other landscape features, and can be used as informal classroom settings. These areas provide an opportunity for students to learn in a natural environment and connect with nature. Paved landscape areas furnished with seating can be used to create various zones for outdoor study, giving students a break from being in the classroom and allowing activities such as science experiments, art classes, and group discussions to take place outdoors.
A school’s outdoor space can be further enhanced by incorporating various soft features alongside hard architectural materials like concrete paving and seating. Trees, shrubs, and other plants can provide shade, promote biodiversity, and reduce noise pollution. These green elements create a sense of tranquility and relaxation and unlock the benefits of biophilic design, which can have a positive impact on students’ mental health.
Incorporating artwork into the outdoor environment can add to the aesthetic appeal of the school’s landscape and provide connections through clever landscape design. Sculptures, murals, and other forms of art can be used to provide creative elements to stimulate students’ imaginations.
Anston Architectural Products is a Melbourne-based supplier of architectural concrete paving and landscape products, with an impressive portfolio of works in the public and commercial sectors. In addition to its generous range of paving sizes and colours, Anston can incorporate special finishes and features into its concrete products using stencilling or imprinting techniques, producing high quality products that are long-lasting investments.
One unique project by Anston replicated the planets of the Milky Way via an installation of different sized spheres at Wattleview Primary School. Each sphere was emblazoned with the name of the corresponding planet on its surface, providing a reminder to students of the planets’ positioning and relative scale. Another recent project for St. Joseph’s College featured brass and steel lettering embedded into playground paving and furniture, representing the elements of the Periodic Table.
The outdoor environment of a school is an integral part of the learning experience. Incorporating landscape features such as concrete paving, trees and shrubbery, outdoor seating areas and artwork or design details can enhance the school atmosphere and provide a range of benefits for students’ well-being and learning. By creating a well-designed, engaging outdoor environment, schools can foster creativity, promote physical activity, and provide a relaxing and natural space for students to connect with their peers.