Masterplan- The First Steps

Why do we need a Landscape Master Plan?


Armadale Primary School’s vision is to become an exemplary learning community by developing the whole child. The Master Plan will enable the school to transform our outdoor learning environment and play spaces to help fulfil this vision.


By planning ahead and having a cohesive, well considered design and agreed vision for the whole school grounds, we will be better organised and be able to make well informed decisions about improvements to make now and down the track, saving money, time and resources.


A master plan is especially important when seeking funding and means everyone including the Council, neighbours and Department of Education can understand the school’s long-term goals.


What is a Landscape Master Plan?


It is a design for the school grounds that is used by the school as a framework for planning, design, development, and maintenance of all of the exterior spaces of our school grounds.



It provides a clear process for managing change and aligning projects to the values and vision we have all agreed to as a school community.

Our progress so far

In 2018 we established the Master Plan Working Group made up of teachers and parents and engaged landscape architects Andrew Laidlaw and Andrea Proctor from Laidlaw & Laidlaw Design (L & L Design) to consult with the whole community to help the school develop a cohesive, well considered design for the whole school grounds.


We completed our extensive community consultation in December 2018. Our community shared hundreds of ideas, comments and designs with the designers and each other.


Everyone’s responses were collated and transcribed by Abby and Fran from the Master Plan Working Group and provided to Laidlaw & Laidlaw Design who produced a reverse brief which the designers are now working through to develop the ‘big picture’ schematic design for our school grounds.


This stage of the design process is being managed by the Master Plan Working Group in close consultation with Facilities and School Council. It’s expected the final design will be available in May 2019.

Listening to our community – what’s important to us?


It’s your school and your contribution is vital!


Everyone’s input so far has helped us understand what’s important and what needs to be incorporated in our landscape master plan.

It’s plain to see how much we all care about our outdoor learning and playing spaces. It was great to see so many people – children, parents, grandparents, carers, neighbours, teachers and friends – taking the time to come and share their thoughts and ideas as well as ‘hot dotting’ other people’s comments, chatting with the designers, neighbours, teachers, working group and school councillors and finding out more about the planning process including Pick my Project.

L & L Design are now producing a design that responds to and reflects what the respondents have told the school and what the master plan aims to address.


It incorporates:


Values - what’s important, what do we all value in our shared outdoor space?

  • Sustainability – care for our school, care for our environment, light footprint, promoting a respect for the natural environment
  • Creative play – fostering natural creative play, adventure, sensory elements, climbing, building, making, immersion in the natural environment
  • Connection to nature – opportunity for children to connect to nature through play and build a love of and respect for the natural environment
  • Food production – vegetable gardens and composting areas and the way they are incorporated into the curriculum and used to each life skills
  • Art – art as part of the landscape and school culture, integrated into the landscape and life of the school
  • Places for all children – need mixes of active and passive play spaces which support children of all ages. Sports areas and equipment for the active kids, and quiet secluded nooks for the children who need space to withdraw
  • A learning landscape – a landscape for the teachers, with spaces which are an extension of the classroom and support the school curriculum
  • Making the most of what we have – spaces that are flexible, can be used to their best potential and for a range of activities
  • Practical – needs to be workable, able to be maintained, able to be built, able to be afforded

Issues - what are the main issues our master plan needs to address?

  • Configuration of sports courts and shade structures to support the Pick My Project funding
  • Use of tiles created for the tile wall
  • Toilets: School to assess the feasibility of upgrading the toilets in their current location; L&LD to assess the feasibility of creating a new toilet block elsewhere on site
  • Tomorrow’s leader’s for sustainability – garden plan to be incorporated in some way
  • Central asphalt space - needs to be reconfigured - some type of flexible stage and general openness is needed, but area needs more protection and more greenery to define the space and improve its functionality and remove the asphalt
  • Movement around the school – look at how children and parents move around the school, especially crossing the quad during lunch time (balls flying)
  • Improve school entrances, rationalise and relieve congestion – separate vehicles and pedestrians, control access during school hours and increase access for wheelchairs and people with prams (especially main office and from Northcote road)
  • Need to soften the school – more greenery, more shade, less asphalt and concrete, cool the school
  • Need more shade in the school generally, especially in the open areas
  • Need spaces to be multi-purpose: with such a small school area spaces need to fulfil a range of functions and be able to be used in a variety of ways
  • Make the most of the left over, linear spaces around the school’s edges – places that children naturally gravitate too but need to still allow supervision
  • Improve the sandpit – size and depth good,but loses too much sand over the surrounding paths. Also needs taps nearby for hand washing and water play
  • More places for creative play - climbing, adventure – focus on the whole child – hidey holes and places where children can withdraw
  • Need more sensory elements, water, rocks, greenery
  • Areas that can be manipulated (found object play, tables and chairs which can be moved etc.)
  • Safer sports surfaces with options for sports spread more across the school


Needs – our community expressed strong needs and desires across four elements

Preliminary review by the designers shows these elements are all practical and achievable.


  • Outdoor classrooms
  • Outdoor kitchen
  • Vegetable gardens
  • More outdoor storage
  • Animals
  • Sensory garden

Passive Play

  • Water play (possibly as a creek with mud play included)
  • More sitting areas outdoors – especially sheltered ones – fixed and flexible options
  • Quiet spaces, hiding spaces for children to withdraw to, preferably in natural areas
  • More natural, quiet spaces and much more greenery across the school – need to soften the “concrete jungle”
  • Increased tree planting and more shade generally across the school ground
  • Bamboo forest

Active Play

  • More climbing equipment
  • Running tracks (made or obstacle style)
  • More monkey bars (single gymnastic style ones are popular at a range of sizes)
  • Netball hoops
  • Cricket
  • Football goal posts


  • A flexible stage area for events
  • More bike and scooter racks
  • Upgrade of the PA system as it can’t be heard in all parts of the school
  • Provide wheelchair / pram access to front office
  • Welcoming entrance from Densham Road
  • Increased space for bins and recycling / compost


Wishes – some wonderful ideas emerged

Some great ideas emerged from all of our community. Our wishes come below our ‘needs’ in the plan as there was either less desire for them, or further work is needed to determine if they are practical and achievable.

Teaching elements

  • Outdoor reading area
  • Expand the vegetable growing areas (need to at least keep at the current level with veggies, fruit trees and compost)
  • Gardening area – garden shed and potting bench, mini hot-house

Passive Play Elements

  • Real Grass (very strong desire)
  • Conversation circles
  • Gardens for bugs and minibeasts
  • Tree house

Active Play Elements

  • Hit up wall
  • More hoops for multiple sports options
  • Permanent soccer goals
  • Giant chess board (strong demand, but they are rarely used)
  • Rock climbing wall to make the most of the vertical spaces
  • Zip line / flying fox (strong demand, may not be practical)

Practical elements

  • More mint taps
  • Water tanks for water storage
  • Winding organic paths – less straight lines

Pick My Project

 When will the school community playing courts ‘Pick my project’ upgrade take place and what will this involve?


In a huge win for the school in 2018, Armadale Primary successfully obtained a grant as part of the Pick My Project grants initiative, for $188,000 for an upgrade of the community activity courts with weather protection, fencing, resurfacing and multi-court facilities.


The upgrade of the sports courts is part of the Landscape Master Plan. L&L Design will look at the sports court configuration, surrounds, size and any other issues arising from the community consultation process to balance these with other needs and desires for the school landscape.


Following in-principle approval of L&L Design’s schematic design concept for the Master Plan, expected to be March 2019, the recommended design for the courts could then be handed to the Project Manager and Engineer to allow them to proceed to detailed construction design and documentation.


It’s expected that the above approach will allow construction of the community sports courts to take place during the 2019 school year.

More about our consultation process


We asked everyone in our community to have your say and share your ideas.


In November 2018, extensive community consultation took place over one week with all of the community, including students, teachers, parents, grandparents, carers and neighbours.Our community shared their views on four key questions:

  1. What do you like?
  2. What’s missing that you’d like to see added?
  3. What’s not working that needs to be changed?
  4. Which entrances do you use and how do you get to school?

At our In-School Day with the designers on Tuesday 27 November 150 students across each year level took part in workshops with the designers, drawing and describing their ideas, and two groups of students took the designers on ‘school tours’ of the grounds


All of our teachers, including OOSHC attended a workshop with the designers where they contributed their ideas and opinions; the OOSHC team also held their own mini-workshop.


The designers did their own site analysis and observation of landscape and all outdoor activities (learning, lunch-play, recess, sport).


Around 200 people attended our after school drop-in Community Forum on Thursday 29 November, including parents, grandparents, teachers, neighbours, carers and children, where they answered four key questions, drew designs, ‘hot dotted’ comments they agreed with, shared ideas, found out about the Pick my Project sports court upgrade and enjoyed a sausage sizzle.


Parents and children looked at the designs the children had been working on for our school grounds, talked about what their family values most about our school grounds and what’s missing that they’d like to see or change. 


Everyone in the community had the opportunity to contribute more ideas via our online survey which was open from 29 November to 21 December.


Our teachers led on-going discussions and in-class activities where children shared their ideas and drawings (then provided these to working group).


Keep talking


Chat with your child about the school grounds and ask them their thoughts on what they like to do at lunch play, recess, what they enjoy doing in Investigations. What’s not working for them? From little things, big things grow!


Further information:


What is a Landscape Master Plan?


A landscape Master Plan is a long-range document that provides a design for the school grounds and is used as a framework for planning, design, development, and maintenance of all of the exterior spaces of our school grounds.


It is an agreed vision for the school, which is developed by working with all stakeholders and ensures all works and money spent are well considered and provide real value to the School Community.



What will Armadale Primary’s Landscape Master Plan entail?


The scope of the Landscape Master Plan is for all of the exterior of the school grounds only and does not include buildings, with the exception of the school toilets which will be addressed in the design. 

The Master Plan, which is to be produced by landscape architects Laidlaw & Laidlaw Design, will take in to consideration the uses and functions of the school grounds and propose a design, concepts and implementation plan to accommodate current and future needs over the next ten years.

It will include site analysis drawings in response to the existing conditions and the school’s community consultation process.

The final design will include: 

  • concept drawings 
  • a design statement describing key priorities
  • technical elements
  • sections and photos as appropriate to explain the design
  • recommendations on staging of works and options for implementation (e.g. working bees, external contractors)

See attached example of a Master Plan for Patterson Park, Metung.


When will the Master Plan be complete?


It’s expected that the final design for the Landscape Master Plan will be complete by May 2019.




Nov-Dec 2018

Site analysis, school and whole community consultation

How is the school administering the Master Plan process?


The school has established the Master Plan Working Group to manage the process of creating a Master Plan, and to ensure we develop an agreed vision for the school by working with all stakeholders.


The working group is headed by Principal Rochelle Cukier and Deputy Principal Connie Apostolos-Thermos. It works in close consultation with School Council and the Facilities sub-committee and members are: Peter Cracknell, Vita Vampatella, Pippa Cocks, Zaim Zeneli, Cara Bodsworth, Arabella Imhoff, Steve Kruk and Fran Johnson.


Who are the Landscape Architects and how were they appointed?


Laidlaw & Laidlaw Design are the landscape architects responsible for creating Armadale Primary’s landscape Master Plan. Leading Landscape Architect, Andrew Laidlaw, will work directly on the Master Plan, alongside Landscape Designer, Andrea Proctor.


L&L Design has extensive experience in this field including work as the landscape architects for the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden and the Kyneton Community Park.


They were appointed by the school following a tender process where four landscape architect firms with school community credentials and references were invited to submit a proposal in response to a comprehensive brief.


L&L Design was chosen based on their detailed, well-considered response to the brief and excellent credentials and references.



Further information:


Please contact any member of the Master Plan Working Group, Facilities sub-committee or School Council if you need any further information or have any questions.