In 2008, Exterior Worlds had the honor of donating a landscape design to Hunters Creek Elementary School, located at 10650 Beinhorn Rd, Houston, TX 77024. This landscape design was for a butterfly garden, created in memory of Mrs. Kellie Sewell. She had been a beloved teacher at Hunters Creek Elementary School up until the time she passed away. The butterfly garden was designed to ultimately function as an outdoor classroom that would feature seating for twenty children.
One of the things that we most enjoyed about doing this project was working during school hours while the children were on the playground. The students knew that the butterfly garden would be their new classroom, so they gathered around us every day at recess to watch our team work. They were genuinely interested in our work, and they were genuinely excited about the opportunity to have class outside.
There were a few things that we did in creating this outdoor classroom that were unique in regard to the standard butterfly garden design. We wanted to give the school something low maintenance that would endure the rough play of children and the scorching heat of the summer months. The location of the garden, and some of the elements we used to construct it, was also rather unique. We installed it in a very narrow space against a gigantic blank wall with an ornate stone entry. Instead of using the traditional mulch as the garden floor, we used gravel to establish a stone theme. We then placed large boulders in key locations and placed benches and created two outdoor seating areas with long benches that would seat entire groups of children and teachers.
For greenery, we planted a number of grasses, plants, and flowers that known to attract butterflies. Such species as Butterfly Bush, Butterfly Iris, Milkweed, Hamelia, Russelia, and Turks Cap were included in our butterfly garden design. To give a vertical element to the greenery, we then planted bottle brush and a number of other multi-truck species for shade. By building the entire garden almost completely in gravel and stone with only pockets of thriving greenery, we made it very easy for school maintenance professionals to weed the garden. It also eliminated the additional expense and labor of annual mulching.
When the garden was complete, the surrounding community banded together to help the school paint gorgeous mural in honor of Mrs. Sewell along the back wall. Exterior Worlds was honored to contribute such a memorial to Hunters Creek Elementary School, and wishes to extend special thanks to the many parents and residents who donated their time, energy, and finances in order to help turn our butterfly garden design into an experience that extended beyond landscaping to touch the lives of everyone who knew Mrs. Sewell.
We are confident as well that in the years to come, this innovative classroom design will create a unique and very special learning environment where students will be inspired to explore new dimensions of imagination and creativity