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Almshouse, Stockwood – Bristol

The mental and physical benefits of being in a garden are well recognised and were central to Bristol Charities’ aspirations for its most recent Extra Care almshouse for the elderly.

It asked for a communal gathering space, a gardening area, a safe walking route, seating, a laundry drying area and lots of scented and colourful planting.

Our strategy was to provide a main circulation route around the garden linking to all the building entrances so that residents could navigate their way easily.

The path enclosed different garden rooms such as a paved open space for events, a growing area with a greenhouse, potting shed and raised planters and a scented labyrinth walk. Planting was used to create inviting places to sit and enjoy the garden and to attract wildlife.

Our positioning of a shaded dining terrace outside the residents’ lounge resulted in it being upgraded to a garden room with doors opening onto it. A small area fenced area was set aside for clothes drying.

The use of different materials including stone, brick and resin-bound gravel gave residents more points are which to orientate themselves.

The scheme offers a high quality, stimulating and attractive environment that residents can enjoy whether inside or out.