Green Plan-It Garden

Designed by a team of students from Swanlea Secondary School in Whitechapel, who won the RHS Green Plan-It Competition in 2016 - the balcony garden has been inspired by their local community

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Did you know...

  • The students talked to 70 local residents, all living in a block of flats in Whitechapel, about developing a balcony garden that is affordable and uses recycled materials
  • Drainpipes, pallets and recycled food tins have all been used as functional and cheerful planters
  • Students hope that their work on the balcony garden will inspire students to take part in the Green Plan It challenge this year, helping them to gain teamwork skills and self-confidence

About the Garden

The RHS Green Plan-It Competition was developed in 2016 to encourage 12–13 year-olds to explore and experience the world of plants and develop an understanding of their importance. Collectively they were briefed to develop a creative solution to a horticultural challenge, and in the process it was anticipated that they would learn life skills and embrace the world of horticulture.

Swanlea School is located in one of the most built-up urban areas of London, and none of the students who took part in the challenge had access to a garden at home. Mentored by an industry expert, the children worked in a team over 10 weeks to rethink the role of green space for the community. Together they designed a multi-purpose balcony garden for a block of flats. As part of the challenge, they surveyed residents and incorporated the results into their design for a flat pack, low-cost balcony garden suitable for its environment.

The 3D model they created and the report they wrote were presented to a panel of horticulture industry assessors at the Green Plan-It Celebration Day at Capel Manor College in December 2016. The assessors were impressed with the school’s community-minded design, attention to detail and innovative use of materials and plants and selected Swanlea as the overall winner.

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.