‘Branching Out’ transforms garden at Bromley care home

The garden of our Short Breaks & Respite Service in Bromley has been transformed from an overgrown and unloved area to an immersive and useable space that includes a sensory zone, growing sections in raised-beds for wheelchair users and scented plants and herbs.

Before Garden Transformation
Before Garden Transformation

The transformation was completed by the Bromley-based volunteer gardening and horticulture project, Branching Out, run by  Ambient that is helping to change lives and improve mental wellbeing for local people with lived experience of mental ill-health.

After gaining the transformation contract at our Widmore Road service, which provides short breaks and respite services for adults with a learning disability (including complex needs), the Branching Out team were asked to make significant improvements and enhance peoples’ experience in the garden.

In response, the Branching Out team designed and built two raised beds of varying heights for the growing area, accessible for all including wheelchair users, and a sensory zone was created in an unused corner of the garden which was planted with rosemary, thyme, sage, chives, lemon balm, nepeta, mint, angelica, cotton lavender, woodland strawberry and lemon verbena.

A sensory wall made from mirror and touch tiles was installed with the large tiles positioned on hooks so they can be removed for wheelchair users. A noisemaker was also designed and created from PVC drainage pipes, painted and cut to specific lengths so the tubes ring out across one whole octave ranging from C to C.

After Garden Transformation
After Garden Transformation

 Sara Barton, Manager at Ambient Support’s Widmore Road, said:
We are completely overjoyed with the new garden, it’s unrecognizable and is now an inspirational and immersive space that the people we support love being in. We can plan lots of enjoyable activities in the garden and give the people the chance to discover the joy of gardening alongside new sound, touch, smell and taste experiences. The garden couldn’t be more perfect and we would like to say a huge big thank you to everyone in the Branching Out team.”

Sarah Hearne, Ambient Locality Manger, who oversees the work of the Branching Out project, said:
“The team thoroughly enjoyed working on this project as it was a big transformation and they were given freedom to be creative. It’s also very close to our hearts as it’s for the people that Ambient supports. This project allowed both the volunteers at Branching Out and the end users to benefit from an interactive experience from design through to garden creation.

“The second stage of the transformation that is planned will include a wildflower meadow area, a compost heap, a bed for fruit bushes and a pot display at the entrance to the property. The team at Branching Out can’t wait to get going.”

Branching Out welcomes volunteers into a relaxed, informal and supportive work environment. Participants learn new skills in horticulture by completing commissioned gardening and maintenance services. The project runs three mornings a week and works across various Ambient Support services and private gardens locally. Alongside people who experience mental ill-health, the project is extending volunteering opportunities to people in Learning Disability services.  If you wish to find out more visit the Branching Out page on this website

To talk to us about what you need and how we can help, please get in touch.

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