Landscape and Outdoor Spaces

The design approach to school grounds, spaces and landscape are equally important as the internal design of the school. The Department for Education Building Bulletin 103 sets out recommended design space standards for this which includes standards for:

  • Net area, which is the usable area and comprises basic teaching area; halls, dining and PE spaces; learning resource areas; staff and administration; and storage;
  • Non-net area, which supports the functioning of the building, and includes toilets and personal care, kitchen facilities, circulation, plant and internal walls;
  • Supplementary area (including net and non-net), which is used for non-school or support functions such as specially resourced special needs facilities.

The key elements which need to be considered within the school grounds and landscape include the following:

  • Ecology and ecological impact of the development and opportunities to establish new appropriate habitats while protecting existing.
  • Trees; the protection of the existing trees on site and their current condition. Explore opportunities to include new tree planting and provide areas of shade and screening.
  • Visual Impact; understanding the site and its context while being a good neighbour to surround properties. Understanding the long and short views through to the site.
  • Allotments and planting spaces; linked to community uses.
  • Playground space/amenity; seek to provide the appropriate space to the Department for Education minimum standards
  • Hard landscape materials; specifying the right materials for the site and public realm.
  • Boundary treatments; seek to establish and specify the most appropriate boundary treatment for the site and boundary, balancing security with amenity value and visual appearance
  • Community uses; how can community uses safely and securely integrate with the school site

Page updated: 11/09/2019


Make the most of the Essex Design Guide, register today

As well as ensuring you are always in the know about future changes and updates to the Essex Design Guide, registering with us will enable to you to add and manage bookmarks throughout the site, so your most-used areas of the guide are always easy to find.

Register for updates

© 2020 Copyright Essex County Council. All rights reserved.