Communal Gardens: Blackford Pond, Site Assessment and Concept Design

Blackford Pond is part of Blackford Hill Local Nature Reserve: a stunning and historic site in the south of Edinburgh, Scotland. It is a popular destination for locals due to its easy access, rich history, diverse flora, and stunning views of the city:

Blackford Hill has a rich history dating back to the Bronze Age. Archaeological excavations have uncovered evidence of human activity on the hill for thousands of years. In the 16th century, the hill was used for farming, and a small chapel was built at its summit. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Blackford Hill was a popular spot for wealthy Edinburgh residents to take leisurely walks and picnics.

In the early 20th century, the hill was purchased by the Edinburgh Corporation and was designated as a public park and officially designated as a Local Nature Reserve, recognizing its ecological importance and unique biodiversity.

Blackford Hill is home to a diverse array of plant and animal species. Its south-facing slopes provide a warm and sheltered environment for many rare and unusual plants:

Essential for the Edinburgh community this reserve offers a peaceful and tranquil environment for people to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

In recent years, the reserve has undergone significant restoration work to protect its fragile ecosystems and promote biodiversity. The City of Edinburgh Council and local volunteer groups have worked together to remove invasive species and plant native vegetation, creating a healthier and more vibrant environment for both plants and animals.

The reserve is also home to a variety of bird species and visitors may also spot other wildlife such as swans, badgers, foxes, and rabbits.

This park is an important educational resource for local universities because it offers a unique opportunity for students to learn about the local ecology and environment.

As part of my Garden Design Course, I developed academic research about the park, during this task, I had to conduct a Site Assessment and write about what changes I would make if I were the garden designer hired to do a consultation.

Picture of the park today

I have several suggestions for improving this park. Firstly, several areas of the park are not frequently explored due to their hidden location. To encourage visitors to explore these areas, the park could benefit from clearer signage and markers to guide visitors to these hidden gems. Additionally, adding decorative items such as wooden bird nests and bug hotels could add to the attraction of these areas and encourage visitors to explore further.

After: Proposal Concept

As a popular destination for families with children, it’s important to ensure that the playground is safe and well-maintained. The current playground seems a bit neglected, so a renovation or relocation could be a good idea. Moving the garden further back from the lake could improve safety and give children more space to play without worry.

Moodboard with the proposed changes. by: Karine nieman
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2 responses to “Communal Gardens: Blackford Pond, Site Assessment and Concept Design”

  1. Itís nearly impossible to find educated people in this particular subject, however, you seem like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks

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