Case Study – NHS Nightingale Hospital Staff Wellbeing Garden by Biotecture Ltd

on Thursday, 16 September 2021. Posted in News

Good Will Leaf Award

Biotecture Ltd

This is a new category in our Awards which was introduced this year. It recognises projects, products or work undertaken for charity that have created an impactful response to a problem or set of circumstances brought about by the pandemic; it will also recognise special provision of an installation and product/creative innovation in interior landscaping.

7 LR

Part of the finished garden

General information about this project

In April 2020, living wall specialist Biotecture was approached by Mace, the main contractor at the NHS Nightingale Hospital at the ExCel Centre in London. They were seeking a vision on how to improve the look and feel of the temporary staff area.

4 Installation day wide angle lr

Before the installation

Biotecture’s Managing Director, Richard Sabin, immediately offered to donate plants, staff time and 600 of their 100% recycled vertical planters called PlantBox, to build the Nightingale wellbeing garden for the staff.

Richard then got to work calling on local West Sussex nurseries to donate thousands more plants and a host of other businesses to donate trees, pots, seats, parasols, artificial lawn, and irrigation services. Friends volunteered their time to help plant up the living walls, and renowned garden designer, Patrick Collins, collaborated on a design that would work within the limitations of the site.

2 Planting day at the nursery 1 8 April 2020 lr

3 Planting day at the nursery 2 8 April 2020 lr

The Biotecture team had just two days to coordinate everything and plant up the vertical garden, and then one day on site for the installation. Three days later, a dusty utilitarian space with Portakabins, where staff showered and collected their scrubs, was transformed into an oasis of calm in which to unwind at the end of a shift.


5 Installation day the finished garden 9 April 2020 lr

The completed installation

The living walls were later donated to a wellbeing garden at the Bristol Royal Infirmary.

You can watch a video of the project here:

The staff welfare facilities at the new NHS Nightingale Hospital comprised of utilitarian Portakabins, and main contractor Mace approached Richard Sabin at Biotecture to see if we could help create a more attractive environment for NHS staff. Biotecture immediately agreed and Richard galvanized an astonishing amount of local support from nurseries, landscaping companies, garden designer Patrick Collins and many more local businesses who all donated their time, products and services. A full list of everyone involved can be found in our video:

This support enabled the Biotecture team to co-ordinate, design and install a wellbeing garden at ExCel in just 3 days, using our PlantBox living wall system.

6 Installation day the Biotecture team 9 April 2020 lr

The Biotecture team relax after installation

Richard Sabin, Managing Director of Biotecture, said: “We’re delighted to be able to give something back to the amazing doctors, nurses and other NHS staff, working tirelessly to support us during this crisis. The feedback from staff so far has been absolutely wonderful and we hope the garden can provide some solace before or after a shift at the Hospital.

“This was truly a team effort. I was blown away by the support we received. The volume and value of items which were willingly volunteered was very humbling. It really was a rewarding project to lead, and I would love to be able to offer this to other hospitals.”

8 Take down day wide angled view of the garden in all its glory 15 May 2020 LR

The glowing feedback we received from NHS staff included:

“It’s just gorgeous, it makes such a difference. We get stuck indoors and forget about the sun! It will be lovely to sit here and get some fresh air”
Liz Wells, Associate Director at St Mary’s General Hospital, working as Operational Manager at Nightingale


The project also had a legacy, as Biotecture and the wider team was delighted to gift the PlantBox living walls and furniture to the Royal Bristol Infirmary in May 2020. The hospital courtyard was refurbished and turned into a wellbeing garden to benefit both NHS staff and patients, particularly those with dementia and those recovering from stroke.

It was important to everyone involved to want to give back and thank the NHS for their heroic efforts during the pandemic, which in turn created a sense of camaraderie and pride. One member of the Biotecture maintenance team who was unable to participate in the Nightingale project wanted to play his part and has since been maintaining the living wall at the Royal Bristol Infirmary in his spare time.

11 Bristol Royal Infirmary Wellbeing Garden 29 May 2020

At Royal Bristol Infirmary


The award would not just be for Biotecture, it represents the power of collaboration and teamwork with all the local businesses and individuals who donated goods and gave up their time to achieve something astonishing in such a tight timeframe. We are very grateful for their support in making this a reality.

10 Take down day removing the PlantBox living walls 15 May 2020 lr

Take down day

The award would also represent a huge thank you to all the NHS workers for their efforts, especially over the past 12 months during exceptionally challenging circumstances. They are truly inspirational.


Thanks to
Lee Mepstead and team at Mace, Pots and Pithoi, Provender Nurseries, Scancom, Greg Hill at Hills Plants, Patrick Collins, Alex Newey and Stuart Whiteman at Newey Nursery, Plants2People, The Farplants, Group, Cameron Irrigation, NamGrass and all staff at Biotecture.