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When a London family decided to swap the English way of life with the natural beauty of Switzerland, Sovereign worked to create an idyllic outdoor play area for the children.

The Issue

The James* family moved from London, where they had a small garden, to an idyllic area of Switzerland which had a large outdoor area. However, while the new garden was much bigger in size, it sadly lacked social-appeal. It was decided it was time to have the garden landscaped and to incorporate a play area for their children and friends to enjoy.

After the family agreed on what they had in mind, they made contact with a Swiss landscaping company to get the ball rolling. A specific area was allocated, however it soon became clear that the construction of the planned play area for the children had to be carried out as part of the landscaping project.

The designing and installation of this equipment had to fit into a specific timetable, with everything being completed before winter started. An additional problem was that the Swiss landscapers spoke very little English and this made it harder for the family to explain what it was they exactly wanted.

The Resolution

Although the landscaper was able to supply play structures, it was not what the family had in mind. The parents decided that they wanted a bespoke mirror image play structure that would provide both children with the same equipment, to avoid any sibling arguments.

Mrs James had seen a Sovereign advert in Vogue magazine while in London, and specifically liked the look of the Thumper tower. She passed Sovereign’s details onto the landscape company, who in turn contacted Sovereign to find out more about their product. However, due to a language barrier, it was difficult to understand what was required.

So, with time being tight, the family decided that using Sovereign to install the equipment would be a more workable solution. An English friend of the family, fluent in the local language, was able to liaise with the landscapers to co-ordinate the two parties working together.

The Process

Sovereign was contacted in July 2009 and the James’s situation explained to project manager Valentino Britto. A plan of the garden was sent to him to show the exact space available, and Sovereign designer, Lloyd Bernasconi, got to work in drawing up plans to show how a double Thumper structure could be incorporated. As this was Sovereign’s first overseas project; the team were enthusiastic, but had to remain realistic.

Sovereign checked out the delivery costs to Switzerland and then gave a full quote, which was relayed back to the landscapers and family to check that everything was as they wanted.

Various discussions ensued about the way the equipment would be fixed, the type of surface under it, the timetable, and transport as well as installation instructions. After considerable contact between all parties, it was decided that, with the possibility of miscommunication and misunderstanding of the instructions for the equipment, and taking into account the man hours needed to do the installation, it would be just as cost effective for Sovereign to do the job. A final inclusive quote was given and approved and provisional dates were agreed.

The Installation

Due to delays because of the unseasonable weather, installation dates were put back twice, but, in November 2009, everything was ready to go.

With the help of a family friend, Sovereign was able to organise local accommodation for the installation team within the project budget.  Sovereign then arranged the transport of the play equipment and the installers to Switzerland. Sovereign also dealt with the payment of import duties with Swiss customs.

The landscapers carried out all the pre-installation preparation of the ground area prior to Sovereign starting on-site.

An interpreter was on-hand to help ensure that all went smoothly. Fortunately, the autumn weather was good and Sovereign was able to complete the installation in just three days.

The bespoke design boasts two thumper towers. One of the towers has been redesigned into a mirror image of the original version, and has been positioned along side the original. The towers have been additionally enhanced with a set of monkey bars that link the two towers together.

The thumper tower combines many features seen in Sovereign’s tower model range. The slide, ladder, fireman’s pole and the rock climber, provide a range of challenges that inspires endless possibilities for imaginative play. In addition, the installation sports a further deck area that gives space and capacity to satisfy older and more active children – perfect for the James’s children as they grow.

Once Sovereign completed work, the landscapers finished off the area under the equipment with the addition of play grade bark and log edging.

The Results

  • The children love their play area and can share it with their friends.
  • The structure fits in well with the overall landscaping and surrounding area.
  • It is a sturdy structure that will withstand the Swiss climate of hot summers and cold winters.
  • A further deck area provides more space and the capacity to satisfy older and more active children

* The Family name has been changed for confidentiality and client privacy purposes.

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