Published May 2021
Publication: ProLandscaper Africa

St. Josephs Home

is an outstanding intermediate paediatric care facility. Faced with an expansive, exposed site and a limited budget, Square One’s brief was to provide a diverse play environment as an enticing escape from the hospital wards for children of all ages and with substantial differences in the severity of their conditions.

At the St. Joseph’s Home care facility for children with life-limiting and life-threatening illnesses, play is an essential part of facilitating healing and recovery. The design focuses on creating a safe and enticing environment to foster learning and healing through natural play experiences.

These requirements and limited resources demand a coordinated response to playground design. So, let’s have a look at just what exactly went into the project at St. Joseph’s Home.

STJ Feature Glossy

The team needed to: re-purpose the site sand for sandbag construction; upcycle broken and disused equipment and materials for new structures; turn rain gardens into habitat areas for exploration, learning, and play; enhance diverse social interactions with a variety of formal and informal play areas.

The playground provides safe and stimulating spaces for all ages, from toddlers to teenagers with varying abilities and needs. The vast amount of sand on site is used to create sandbag structures that provide shelter from the wind and generate engaging topographies, supporting a diversity in play experiences. The design combines and arranges various natural, formal, and informal play features in the landscape to create a unified and dynamic space for exploration, learning, and play. The play equipment is designed by PARK, an outdoor furniture and gym equipment design company to maximise play opportunities within the budget.


St. Joseph’s learning landscape allows the design to be spatially explored at various scales and viewpoints. Playful 3D visualisations reveal the various playground opportunities, helping the client to visualise the design and lobby their supporters for funding. In addition to the design of the playground equipment and landscape sketch plan, Square One carefully considered the material and planting design to create a safe space for children to play and learn amongst soft, naturalistic planting and wild play areas.

What made this project truly unique is that almost all the consultants involved in this project donated – with donations ranging from paving and planting, skills, expertise and labour.

A full list of the donors can be found here.

Link to ProLandscaper Article

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