Case Study

School Roof Garden

Roof Garden & Teaching Space for Canon Barnett Primary School, London

Read about this case study

Project Photo Gallery:
Crane used to lift equipment in place to create 5th floor roof garden

A fifth floor location presented some very obvious challenges. A crane was used to lift materials and equipment into place

Central London school roof before installation of roof garden

Before: the empty roof area before the start of project

School roof area transformed with seating and planters

After: Roof area transformed with seating and planters

School roof area transformed with seating, planters and faux grass

After: View from opposite side of roof

Central London school roof before installation of roof garden

Before: Empty roof area, seem from the other end, note the compass

New grow and learn planters and transformed roof after refurbishment

After: The area around the compass transformed

New seating area with wind break

After: Seating area with wind breaks

New roof-garden potting shed with insect house in foreground

After: Potting shed, grow and learn area, bee hive and insect house


Boardman Gelly were commissioned to transform the uninspiring 5th floor roof space of a London primary school in to a vibrant roof garden. Some of the area would be dedicated to growing beds with planting that would also attract wildlife. The rest of the space would be used for teaching pupils. The central London location close to Tower Bridge with vistas over the City made this an exciting project.



To achieve the school’s brief the roof garden project presented some unique challenges for us to resolve. Lifting the materials from ground level to the 5th floor and in a tight urban space required some big thinking.

Key Elements:

We laid safety flooring on a protective membrane to retain the waterproof properties of the roof covering.

A structural survey was undertaken to calculate the weight of materials and location on the roof. A local crane company lifted all the materials on to the roof early one Saturday morning. Despite the many limitations, the final design and build was a complete transformation of the space fulfilling the project brief to the delight of the teachers and pupils.


”Utilising every bit of space in an inner city school is vital. This will enable the pupils to grow their own vegetables and flowers, giving them a connection they would not have otherwise had. On every pupil survey the children said they wanted a growing space. Now they have“

Jackie Trudgeon
Head Teacher, Canon Barnett Primary School