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University of the West of Scotland

A Scottish University has recently improved its external green spaces, in a bid to encourage students to connect with nature.

Recent research has proven that people who make a weekly visit to a green space report having better mental and physical health and the campus services team at University of the West of Scotland (UWS), were keen to create outdoor areas at the Paisley Campus which would allow students, staff and visitors to get their green fix.

After a café refurbishment, the university also wanted to allocate an outdoor area where people could eat and drink in the better weather. Located in Paisley town centre, the campus covers over 20 acres and is home to around 10,000 students. The university’s vision was to a create green escape in the urban environment.

In the built-up area, the team wanted to create some privacy for those who stepped outside for a breath of fresh air. As a solution, GP Plantscape created panels of artificial buxus hedging which were secured to the fencing and gates to shield visitors from passing traffic and pedestrians. Not only do the panels provide some seclusion, they also help to reduce noise from the passing traffic and protect students from winds that previously could hurtle through the grounds uninterrupted.

To entice students and staff to dine al fresco, the customer installed picnic benches which incorporated planters, combining a resting stop with natural materials. The Woodblock furniture was planted with a mixture of flowering plants and exterior shrubs including ‘hebe buxifolia nana’ and ‘hebe pagei’.

Large barrels containing Goldcrest conifer, mixed evergreen shrubs and seasonal bedding establish divisions in the exterior space as well as adding a splash of natural colour to the area.

A large circular wood planter was also installed as an eye-catching feature, owing to the x planted in the centre and the vibrant shades of the Leucothoe fontanesian ‘Rainbow’, skimmia japonica reubella, polyanthus and heathers surrounding the tree.

Finally, a mixture of olive trees trees and Photina X fraseri (also known as Red Robin) underplanted with vinca were added in Cirkik planter in aged lead finish to soften the space and produce interesting features.

“UWS are delighted with the end result, GP Plantscape excelled from start to finish working closely with us carrying out several reviews and provided multiple options for us to consider. We required a quick turnaround for installation on this project and GP helped us achieve this despite several changes and additional request throughout.”

John MacFarlane, facilities and maintenance manager

Elaine Strang, GP Plantscape sales manager, said: “It was great to work the team at UWS who had a clear idea of what they wanted to achieve and to bring that vision to life.”

The completed outdoor space presents an opportunity for anyone visiting UWS’s Paisley campus to relax in a natural environment, beneficial to their mental and physical health and we can’t wait to see it bustling with people when the weather permits and restrictions see students and staff back on campus full time.

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“We just love plants. It makes the office even more welcoming, and they are so nice to look at. GP have been perfect. “Elaine [Sales Manager] is great and if we have any questions, she is just at the end of the phone, and it has been lovely to see Lesley [Interior Landscape Technician] and her friendly face when she comes in to tend to the plants.”
Bethany Wilson , Class for Kids
“The greenery creates a calm and tranquil environment in which to work and are conducive to the design process.”
Mette Møller, Urban Designer , HarrisonStevens
“UWS are delighted with the end result, GP Plantscape excelled from start to finish working closely with us carrying out several reviews and provided multiple options for us to consider. ”
John MacFarlane , Facilities and Maintenance Manager, UWS
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