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The University of Southampton Early Years Centre has transformed their EYFS garden with an overhaul of their safer surfacing!

The Issue

Situated in the campus of the University of Southampton, the staff at the Early Years Centre were looking to rejuvenate their outdoor play area. Their existing wetpour and artificial grass surfacing had started to succumb to the effects of moving tree roots which had left the surface uneven. With the age of the children ranging from newborn to five years, the surface proved difficult for some children to play on, with accidents occurring as a result.

The Resolution

An initial meeting was arranged between Nursery Manager, Tracy Pointon and Sovereign’s experienced Sales Area Manager, Richard Pennington. Together they discussed the condition of the existing surface and the best options moving forward. Rather than remove the trees that provide the area with much-needed shade during the summer months, Richard suggested installing a more flexible surface to manage the conditions of the ground where the roots were most prominent. Tracy also wanted to allow the babies and children complete access to the area, whether they were crawling or walking, and therefore requested the full area to be surfaced to accommodate this.

The Process

Richard advised that bonded rubber mulch would be ideal around the base of trees due to its flexible and durable nature, as well as having the ability to move with the roots. Alongside the mulch, sections of plush Windsorartificial grass were included to create a soft and safe area for babies to crawl on and explore. To add some excitement to the area, a wetpour roadway with parking bays was incorporated to allow the children to develop gross motor skills and encourage imaginative play. Lastly, where two drains were located in part of the area, Richard suggested a meandering river design out of blue wetpour through the artificial grass.

The Installation

Installation commenced and the teams from Sovereign worked tirelessly to complete the works within one week. Paying special attention to how the surfaces worked together, they were able to achieve amazing results and created an even playing area for the children to use and enjoy.

The Results

The staff and children at the University of Southampton Early Years Centre are thrilled with their brand new garden space. After improving the ground conditions by providing a more suitable surface to assist with the moving tree roots, Sovereign were able to create an even play area for the children to use. The mix of textures provides a full sensory experience for the children to explore as they move across the different surfaces, whilst meeting the highest levels of safety.


I just wanted to say thank you to you and your team for the amazing garden area we now have. I am so pleased with it. Your team were fantastic and worked really closely with my staff to ensure the disruption went as smoothly as it could. I am very happy!

Tracy PointonNursery Manager