Playground landscaping transformation

Project completed by The Gardenmakers in 2019.

St Jude’s Early Learning Centre Randwick

The playground landscaping at St Jude’s Early Learning Centre in Randwick was not a very inspiring or creative environment for children to grow, learn and play. Fiona Temple, Landscape Designer & Project Manager from The Gardenmakers recaps.

“Our brief was to create a natural play space for the children to discover and play in, whilst still providing a softfall set up zone and running areas.

We provided some separation between passive play (sandpit and cubby house) both for function and to create a journey from one space to another.

Tropical (Alpinia nutans & zerumbet; Aspidistra elatior; Bamboo; Cordyline rubra & stricta; Liriope Evergreen Giant) style plants were selected for the shaded area around the sandpit and creek bed.

All of Alpine Nurseries stock was terrific however the Alpinia zerumbet were particularly beautiful, full and really gave the space the jungle feel we were after.

Australian native species were selected for the sunnier spaces to build on the journey feeling as well as provide areas of low water requirements. These included Banksia spinulosa; Leptospermum petersonii and Cardwell; Anigozanthos ‘Bush Tango’; Tristaniopsis Luscious; Dianella Breeze & Cassa Blue & Tasred; Lomandra Wingarra and Katrinus & Tanika; Philotheca myoporoides; Hardenbergia Meema; Hibbertia scandens and Brachycombe multifida.

A number of exotic species (Lagerstroemia Tuscarora; Alternanthera dentata; Gardenia ‘Florida’, Phormuim ‘Purpureum’; Convolvulus mauritanicus; Dicondra ‘Silver Falls’; Polygala myrtifolia; Camellia japonica; Gazania tomentose and Felicia amelloides) were used to bring either fragrance or colour into the garden. The main scheme was based on purples, yellows and silver/whites.

The sensory garden includes Thyme, Oregano, Lavender and Rosemary, a Mandarin and Orange tree and Passionfruit along the back. The cubby house has Grape vines planted to grow over the wire trellis roof.”

Parent feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with direct comments on the plants used as well as just ‘wow’ and ‘I love it!’ The Center Director is very happy and most importantly the children are loving it!!

What a transformation! What a play space!

Featured plants

  • Anigozanthos ‘Bush Tango’
  • Alpinia Nutans & Zerumbet
  • Alternanthera Dentata
  • Aspidistra Elatior
  • Bamboo
  • Banksia Spinulosa
  • Brachycombe Multifida
  • Camellia Japonica
  • Cordyline Rubra & Stricta
  • Convolvulus Mauritanicus
  • Dianella Breeze & Cassa Blue & Tasred
  • Dicondra ‘Silver Falls’
  • Felicia Amelloides
  • Gardenia ‘Florida’
  • Gazania Tomentose
  • Hardenbergia Meema
  • Hibbertia Scandens
  • Leptospermum Petersonii & Cardwell
  • Liriope Evergreen Giant
  • Lomandra Wingarra and Katrinus & Tanika
  • Philotheca Myoporoides
  • Phormuim ‘Purpureum’
  • Polygala Myrtifolia
  • Tristaniopsis Luscious
  • Lagerstroemia Tuscarora