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Urban Foraging Station

A garden for children to play, learn, and explore

Designed by brothers Hugh and Howard Miller, the Alder Hey Urban Foraging Station is a woven landscape; it is about weaving together the young and old, green and urban, play and learning and Alder Hey Children's Hospital with its community. At its core is the aspiration to inspire children to lead active, healthy, pleasurable lives. The garden is infused with the magic of discovery inherent to foraging. Visitors first encounter the garden as nostalgic glimpses through rampant, blossoming hedgerows. Within, a sense of freedom prevails; explore, 'leave the path', get lost in your own world. A design language of woven forms associated with foraging are abstracted into a woven landscape. Precast concrete 'strands' make up a picnic blanket laid over an undulating landscape with edible herbs growing through.

A woven landscape...

The importance of mental wellbeing, particularly in children, has been thrown into the spotlight during the pandemic and although this garden is outwardly about foraging, it uses this theme to address the issue of children’s mental wellbeing in an accessible and light touch way. The NHS’s 5 steps to mental wellbeing are all facilitated within the garden. These are: connecting with people, being physically active, learning new skills, giving to others and mindfulness – paying attention to the present. The whole ethos of the garden reinforces this theme, from the way things have been designed with the child at the centre, the feast of opportunities to learn and pass on knowledge about forgeable plants and bush crafts to the mindfulness intrinsic in some of the hand-crafted features.

Relocation of the gardne to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool

The garden will be relocated to the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital campus in the summer of 2022. It will be positioned just outside the entrance to Sunflower House, a new building dedicated to children and young people’s mental health services, which is due to open in the spring of 2022 and forms part of wider plans to create a unique paediatric healthcare campus.


Shortlisted: WoodAwards 2022, Bespoke Furniture Category (Nov)
Winner: Siver Gilt Medal, RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2022


Project credits:

Design: Howard & Hugh Miller - H. Miller Bros.
Contractors: H. Miller Bros.
Sponsor: Project Giving Back
Plants supplied by: Bruns Pflanzen & Specimen trees, home grown by Tom and Dori Miller
Woodwork and Furniture: H. Miller Bros. workshop team
Planting team: Dori Miller & Tom Banister


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