Wellness Garden

The goal of the Wellness Garden is to foster the physical, mental, and spiritual restoration of local people and visitors by providing a series of garden spaces connected by paths to create a tranquil and sheltered environment. The garden can be seen from private residential properties that overlook The Oval and will offer respite for many residents who do not have access to outdoor space.

The Oval’s Wellness Garden will have many special features to ensure it is a vibrant and engaging ‘Garden of the Senses’:

  • Manicured lawn for wellness classes.
  • Winding pathways to create a sense of discovery.
  • Bird friendly water features.
  • Bug and bee hotels.
  • Seating to enjoy the surroundings.
  • Meditation areas.
  • Lighting to elevate the scene.
  • Scented flowers.

We have also developed proposals for an outdoor gym area within the Wellness Garden. If funding is secured this project will not only enhance the excellent green spaces at The Oval but will also make sure there are no financial barriers to being able to enjoy regular exercise and stay healthy with the introduction of our fully interactive gym equipment and our proposed programme of wellness and fitness classes.

Paths and Edging

Paths and hard surfaces in our greenspaces have different purposes and need different designs. At The Oval, we mostly use tarmac for paths where people walk or cycle. But some paths are for vehicles, so they need to be stronger and wider, especially at turns.

In the Wellness Garden, we want something other than tarmac to soften the look and improve the aesthetics. We’re suggesting using self-binding compacted gravel for the paths and a poured safety floor near the outdoor gym.

Putting things like benches on hard surfaces or special bases solves many problems. It makes things look better and last longer. Also, if we design these bases well, we won’t need staff to trim the grass as much because our ride-on mower can maintain it. This means less work to keep things tidy. The bases for our street furniture will be big enough so we can use and take care of them properly. For example, the bases for litter bins should be long so we can easily open the doors and take out the inner liner. And for benches, there should be enough space for people in wheelchairs and to prevent feet from eroding the grass.

Paths and hard surfaces with edges last longer because they’re stronger and have a solid edge that doesn’t wear down easily. In the Wellness Garden, we will be using steel edges set in concrete for this purpose.

Railings and Boundary Treatments

Boundary treatments at the Oval should be sufficiently robust to prevent unlawful access at the same time as presenting as an attractive feature. The new boundary fence enclosing the Wellness Garden will be 1.2m high and designed to deter people from climbing over. It will be a spiked black steel railing.

Pergolas and Canopies

These types of proposed assets at The Oval, which include pergolas and other kinds of canopies, need to be fit for purpose and robust. The style will fit in with the overall look and feel of the proposed wellness garden and will be constructed with pressure treated timber and steel fixings. Regular inspection and maintenance are important as they have overhead elements that could cause injury if left to deteriorate.

Seating Provision

To enable all our green-spaces to be accessible, especially by older people and people with limited mobility, provision has been made for people to sit. For The Oval to be a vibrant community space that people want to visit, we need to have facilities to encourage people to visit, stay and make return visits. Seating in Cliftonville’s public spaces is traditionally seen in terms of the ‘park bench’ and The Oval’s offer is in line with this view for the lawns, however less traditional seating is to be provided, examples of which can be seen in the wellness garden, where there are proposed railway sleeper benches, concrete chess tables with timber block seating, and curved benches so that people can interact and face each other.

Outdoor Gym

Our proposed outdoor community gym caters to all ages and abilities, providing seven workstations with a diverse range of exercises. From youngsters to seniors, everyone can benefit from this setup. Designed in a circular layout to encourage group workouts, the equipment comprises: Lat Pull Down/Shoulder Press, Leg Press, Sit Up Bench, Cross Trainer, Recumbent Bike, Spinning Bike, and Energy Hand Bike with adjustable resistance. Additionally, a multi-station fitness rig is available for calisthenic workouts, perfect for those aiming to tone and build strength. This includes exercises such as leg raises, pull-ups, monkey bars, parallel bars, press-ups, and chin-ups.

Water Feature

To support bird-friendly features in the garden, our plan includes a safe pondless boulder water feature. This addition not only enhances the soundscape but also helps create a tranquil and contemplative space next to the exercise lawn.

Artworks and Statues

Whilst we are not currently proposing any artworks or statues, we would like to note that there is potential to accommodate them at The Oval in the future, particularly in the gated wellness garden. The key issues are that these items should be:

  • robust and fit for purpose.
  • designed and located following consultation and engagement with stakeholders.
  • appropriate to the place and specifics of each individual case.
  • any amendments or changes will be subject to Conservation Planning and Cultural/Heritage team advice.
  • as these are high profile items, they may be subject to individual conservation management plans and be required to be maintained to high standards in advance of specific occasions.
Wellness Garden Survey

Please CLICK HERE to complete the survey.