Green-tech helps to create biophilic primary school

St Mary's Catholic Voluntary Academy in Derby suffered a devastating fire in October 2020, demolishing the site.

A new multi-million-pound school has now risen from the ashes to become the UK's greenest school.

St Mary’s is the country’s first biophilic school and has been built as part of a pilot project for the Department for Education (DfE).

Biophilic design focuses on connecting those inside, with nature, to promote physical and mental health. The goal for St Mary’s is to be net zero carbon in operation where the amount of carbon emissions added is no more than the amount taken away, making it the UK's greenest school.

Horizon Landscapes are Landscape and Grounds Maintenance Contractors based In Nottingham. They were awarded the tree planting and soft landscaping contract for this pilot project.

As part of the landscape strategy, 100 new trees were planted, many of which were semi-mature to help the school become quickly embedded in the Biophilic landscape. Additional landscape features include rain gardens, season bulb planting, green roof, and wildflower meadows to maximise biodiversity and local ecology.

For planting in the hard landscaped areas Green-tech supplied 128 TreeParker units, 40 tonnes of Green-tree Geosoil and 40 tonnes of Green-tree Subsoil. The TreeParker Cell System is an underground structural soil cell system that provides an ideal environment for trees to thrive beneath the pavement in urban environments.

The system provides large volumes of non-compact high-quality soil and maximises the usable space beneath the ground, providing unlimited expansion for unimpeded root growth, while supporting traffic loads at the same time. It is ideal for new trees in areas such as pavements, car parks, and green roofs.

In addition to this key function, TreeParker aids stormwater management within the system, dealing with rainwater runoff at source - the ideal SuDS solution.

Green-tech supplied 85 tree anchor systems for the installation of trees into the soft landscaping scheme. Green-tech has a range of tree anchor systems designed to provide much-needed anchoring and stability for newly planted trees.

In most cases, the tree anchor is secured over the root ball, providing greater contact with the surface area of the root ball and in turn improved root support for the newly planted tree.

Amanda Greaves, Executive Headteacher at St Mary’s, comments: “I am so delighted for the children, staff, parents, and wider community as we begin the next chapter in the new St Mary’s, the greenest school in the UK. It has been an absolute privilege to be part of this incredible pathway project.

“I think the best thing about the new building is being able to see all of the outside areas from all of the buildings and everything is integrated. We have 100 trees, the trim trail, and lots of benches and everything feels calm and relaxed. Everyone is just excited to be here.”

Richard Hale, Managing Director of Horizon Landscapes adds, “This was a stunning project to work on. It was an honour to be involved in creating the first biophilic school and for the importance of the outside to be truly recognised as comparable with the inside of the building. The project has been a huge success and well-received.

“We have worked with Green-tech for many years and as ever they supplied what we needed, when we needed it. They are our go-to for all soft landscaping materials.”

Featured News

HTA welcomes embassy attachés on nursery visit

On a visit organised by the Horticultural Trades Association...
...Read More

Carbon Gold announces partnership with Westland Horticulture

Carbon Gold, the world’s leading biochar brand, is proud to...
...Read More


Latest Brochures

Redexim Folder Synthetic Turf Brochure

Redexim Folder Synth...

By Redexim

Redexim Brochure 2023 Brochure

Redexim Brochure 202...

By Redexim



By Proludic


Latest Products

Aspen 4 -

By Aspen

Aspen 4 is alkylate petrol without oil –...

Aspen 2 -

By Aspen

Aspen 2 is alkylate petrol premixed at 50:1 with a...

Arborist 150 -

By GreenMech

The popular Arborist 150 is a simple-to-use and...


WRT Video Winton FTS -

By Farm Tech Supplies Ltd

Introducing the Foamstream L12 -

By Weeding Technologies

Movember x Turf Tank - 2022 -

By Turf Tank