The Forest Garden breathes new life into a residential neighbourhood in Leytonstone by applying the key concepts of a circular economy to a garden built out of construction waste. The project won the Waltham Forest Making Places competition and employs a new sustainable model of production and consumption that responds to the climate emergency and reaches towards positive natural and community outcomes, conceived as a catalyst for future urban green space projects. Playful, engaging and visually constructed to ‘flow’ through a busy traffic intersection, the Forest Garden encourages biodiversity and promotes natural resilience and conservation. The planting substrate is composed of recycled construction materials with beds of self-seeding wild flowers – a mixture of annual and perennial drought-tolerant plants that ensure a natural, evergreen ‘walk through’ throughout the seasons, with almost no energy and maintenance requirements. The rain garden and new trees attenuate rainfall, protecting this area from water-logging and safeguarding it for future generations. A rammed earth wall also crafted from discarded building materials references the old milestone that gave Leytonstone it’s name. The layers are designed to look like stratified soil – a nod to the nearby Philly Brook which used to flow through the site. This creates a strong visual statement that links the notion of naturally occurring organic processes with more purposeful human intervention.
Our Forest Garden Toolkit offers simple guidance on applying these circular strategies to other sites to create climate resilient, biodiverse and educational interventions for local communities. We are in dialogue with London Boroughs and available to discuss potential sites via firstname.lastname@example.org.
NLA Case Study, 2023
AJ Specification, 2022
AR ‘Public’ Awards 2022: Shortlisted
LBWF Design Awards 2021: Public Choice Winner
LBWF ‘Making Places’ 2019: Winner
Emma Brolly /