Ilderton Primary School, London

Ilderton Primary School – London

Although graded as Outstanding from Ofsted, Ilderton Primary School was keen to redevelop its reception and nursery outdoor space. Looking to break-up the expanse of uninspiring tarmac, they addressed this by utilising the specialist Early Years Landscape Architect service from Playgarden.

Project Brief

With a large outdoor space, the school wanted to develop a flexible, rich outdoor environment for both its nursery and reception children. They wanted to incorporate a dedicated outdoor space that was immediately accessible for each class but then have a central area which could be utilised by both nursery and reception, either independently or together. Accessible and flexible boundaries that could be ‘opened up’ as required were also important to facilitate this adaptable approach to the outdoor environment.


The shared space has a spiral pebble stream with a mushroom pump. Children can pump the water and watch it wind its way down the pebble stream before it drains away.

Within the nursery space, planters and a series of pipes for water play create interest on the fences and walls surrounding the play area. A mud kitchen is the perfect spot for some messy play, supporting children as they engage in imaginative role play whilst developing their scientific minds as they experiment with mud and water and its constituent properties.

The reception outdoor space has plenty of space for running, skipping, games and wheeled resources. A beautiful existing tree serves as a story telling spot with tree trunk log seats. A timber pagoda is a great shelter or stage performance area.

The space also includes a large mound with a boulder wall, which is great for clambering up and then slithering and sliding down the wide embankment slide, great for social play. Existing trees have been retained and new trees planted to create a woodland area.

The delights of mud are experienced within this area with a mud digging bed and mud kitchen summer house. The digging bed is great for developing fine motor skills, using long handled tools to get the mud out. Storage solutions for accessible tools and resources are vital around the site, so that the children are able to self-select and also tidy up, once the days play and learning activities are over.


  • Flexible play environment to meet the needs of the Early Years curriculum
  • Attractive central water play pebble stream enables children to gain a better scientific understanding of how water moves and how it can be controlled and its power harnessed.
  • Wide slide and mound develops balance and coordination and also promotes social play.
  • Story circle creates an inviting area for sharing stories.
  • Mud play encourages scientific understanding and knowledge of how materials can be manipulated through play.
  • Mud digging patch helps support large motor skills, through the use of long handled tools.
  • Large open space facilitates the development of physical literacy through ball games, running and jumping etc.
  • Trees, hedges and planting attract wildlife and enable children to observe the changing seasons and explore the world around them


Equipment: Mushroom Pump, Embankment Slide

Surfacing: Pebble Playstream, Pebble Spiral, Planters, Mud Kitchen, Mud Digging Beds, Timber Pergola, Large Mound, Boulder Wall, Story Telling Tree Seat, New Trees, Hedging and Planting.

What the client said…