St Francis School Materplan and Nature Play St Francis School Materplan and Nature Play

St Francis School Materplan and Nature Play

Challenging play amongst the trees

The Friends of St Francis’ vision was to support the school in providing for a range of imaginative, creative and varied play areas around the site. A masterplan was sought to create a connected open space network, with key project goals developed to focus fund-raising efforts over the next five years. The first project for implementation was a challenging nature play area for the Year 3 and 4 students, to be located within the existing mature native bush.

The children were very keen to have huts, slides, bridges, tunnels, ladders, talk tubes and a stage, along with lots of flowers and a new path! Some of these delightful ideas were able to be realised, while others have been incorporated into future masterplan projects for a reflective prayer garden, orchard and wildflower meadow, amphitheatre and outdoor music area.

Unitary plan regulations, existing infrastructure and roots from the large trees on site were challenging constraints for the nature playspace. Our design proposal was a log scramble balance beam structure with integrated deck, log steppers, rope handhold and adjacent small platform decks with ‘Talk Tubes’ that would enable conversations between all three structures. A large reading deck was also constructed around a nearby Pohutukawa tree.

The outcome was a unique and challenging playspace that sits lightly amongst the trees, adding a whole new dimension to outdoor play at St Francis.

Our role

Masterplan, developed and detailed design.

The facts

ClientFriends of St Francis
Project teamAynsley Cisaria
Sarah Collins
Worked with


Craftsman Gardener Services

Project date2018 - 2019