Queen's Park, Brighton
We’re excited to be working on a landscape design project at Queen's Park in Brighton. The community project, with Friends of Queen's Park, will revamp the existing area, which is now quite rundown, and make it more accessible to families. It will be somewhere that children can run around, play and discover wildlife and nature in a safe, green and eco-friendly environment.
It's a very personal project and I know this area well; my son goes to the local school and so we have been to the park countless times. I also know first hand how it has fallen into disrepair over the years, and is in desperate need of a revamp.
The project began with the landscape designer Tom Hardiment. Tom created the initial designs and these were put out to a series of public consultations, at which the public gave their feedback.
After the public consultations, Tom got in touch to ask whether I would be able to carry on the work that he had started, as he wasn't able to devote the time he would like to it. So that's where we came in!
There are several sections of Queen's Park that need an uplift, but the area we are currently focusing on is the 'cascade' section, which runs through the heart of the park. 97% of consultation respondents supported the restoration of the cascade and landscaping enhancements of the surrounding areas. Forty people identified it as their priority for restoration stating it was one of the most widely used areas of the park.
We have developed Tom's idea that the scheme needs to be more interactive and an open area that encourages children to play and explore.
The current cascade will be restored with a new pump to circulate the water. The stream bed will be widened with gravel, boulders and planting to allow children to interact with the stream. It will also enable damming, diverting water and getting feet wet! Which is exactly what a stream should be.
We will 'blur' the edges, getting away from the constrained and artificial looking boulder edge that currently exists.
At the top of the cascade is an existing network of paths. These will be maintained but semi-formalised with a more definite route - with bark / hogging paths which lead to the bridge.
The other side of the bridge will be excavated, re-lined and planted with several marginal plant species to encourage wildlife. We hope this will also oxygenate and filter the pond water, which the cascade flows into.
All of the existing planting in this area is looking quite tired and overgrown and so we are proposing that much of it should be removed and re-planted with a new mix of low maintenance woodland ground cover species.
Our design is now with Friends of Queen's Park, who are in touch with Brighton & Hove Council with the plans.
Design by nd:studio.
Before and after designs below.