Cranford Community College’s ‘Circle of Life’ memorial garden uses the unique qualities of Clearstone Paving’s PrismStone® a decorative resin bound surfacing system to provide the community with a practical yet beautiful sanctuary for the remembrance of past students and colleagues.
“Sadly, over the past three years, several governors, staff and ex-students have died and, rather than have individual memorials such as benches or plaques, we wanted to create a memorial garden for anyone who needed peace and tranquillity,” says Assistant Head Teacher Alan Fraser.
Families who have lost former members of the school community hold remembrance ceremonies in the garden and so it was crucial that the new design be accessible to everyone, in all weathers, and provide a peaceful haven in which to reflect.
The college already had an existing garden. “But maintenance was a problem,” recalls Wendy Stokes, the landscape gardener tasked with the new design. Overgrown conifers made the garden seem dark and uninviting in gloomy weather; lawns and falling leaves meant maintenance was high.
“My brief was to provide a low maintenance, reflective and restful space that was clean and contemporary. I chose a combination of Clearstone® and PrismStone® resin bound surfacing because it is low maintenance, wheelchair friendly and it keeps looking good for years,” says Wendy of Wendy Stokes Garden Design.
The flexibility of resin bound paving lends itself to the creation of pattern and design to symbolise a theme. In this case, the college wished the garden to represent ‘The Circle of Life’ with water as a central theme. The inherent qualities of water are evoked through a circular flow of aquamarine glass and a reflective steel ball within a surround of warm Sienna resin bound paving.
“Everyone is very impressed both with the design and what it represents,” says Alan Fraser. Situated at the entrance to the school, the garden provides a calm and tranquil first impression.
As the college serves a wide community – gaining the Diamond Award for Cultural Diversity in 2011 – the garden needed to be as inclusive as the college: “It’s there for everyone: people come and we direct them to the garden. It’s a place where people can go and have peace and quiet,” says Alan Fraser.
And Alan is delighted that the resin bound paving has made the garden accessible – whatever the weather. “The porous nature of the paving has worked well: no puddles and it’s stood up to the extremes of weather we’re currently experiencing – torrential rain one day and brilliant sunshine the next. As to maintenance – we have had to do nothing!”
Fuss-free paving and a fuss-free approach to laying it: “The Clearstone team were very quick laying the surface, worked long hours and bent over backwards to get it all finished for the opening ceremony. In addition, when we had a problem sourcing the bespoke benches we wanted, they even managed to find someone to provide them within the time frame. The students find the garden a peaceful place and I am very pleased with the quality of workmanship of the Clearstone team.” Alan Fraser, Assistant Head Teacher, Cranford Community College
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