Published: July, 2020

Covid-19 - an opportunity to recreate our outdoor environments

One of the big upsides of the past few months is a strong desire to do things differently – not least, to lead cleaner, greener, more people-friendly lives. So as we start unlocking the lockdown, focus is turning to outside spaces in towns and cities and how we can use them to promote wellbeing and social activity.

It’s clear that the ‘outdoors’ has a massive role to play in kick starting normality’s return. Here, in these precious spaces, our lives can resume healthily as we stroll, sit, mingle and socialise again. And if we can do all this in a car-free, pedestrianised environment, so much the better.

Encouragingly, city chiefs and developers are thinking along similar lines. Liverpool Council and Arup have come up with a scheme called Liverpool Without Walls. It aims to help restaurants and pubs reopen by developing ‘parklets’ – or pop-up parks – with seating areas that are situated in closed roads and suspended parking bays. Here, planters and Arup-designed modular furniture are being used to create safe and flexible hospitality spaces. And with great success - it’s been hailed by local politicians as “the start of a revolution in how we use the city centre”.

Elsewhere, Nottingham is considering a major pedestrianisation of city centre streets to create large new public spaces. Bristol, Edinburgh and Glasgow are looking at similarly bold steps.

Hand in hand with these measures go moves to turn pavements, terraces and even car parks into outdoor areas, making city living that much more enjoyable. To boost the hospitality sector, Government has said outdoor trading will no longer need planning permission. The rules relaxation has been welcomed enthusiastically by pub landlords and restaurateurs. They’re now looking to spread trading areas out into the street.


For landscape architects, the developments present unique opportunities to help create these new outdoor spaces, and make them clean, green and attractive.

Planters are one obvious way to help fence off and differentiate new outdoor areas. Kinley’s planters have been used for years by architects to create versatile and high-quality designs. Our Perimeta planters, for example, are an ideal way to define plants, trees and green spaces – making them ideal for the parklets springing up in town and city centres across the country.

We make ours from lightweight steel, and offer a choice of standard and bespoke options, all with strong aesthetic qualities. They’re easy and quick to install too.

Kinley benches would also sit nicely in the new outdoor spaces. High-quality timber benches, they come as integrated seating or ‘feature' benches, and with the option of free flowing lines and curves. Just add plants and an oasis of calm is created in a busy city centre.

Perimeta Planterline Cubes would sit beautifully in these spaces too. The high quality modular, bolt-together system we’ve created comes with a base for free-standing planting. They’re available in stainless and CorTen steel, offering design options for any cityscaping scheme.

As ever, Kinley’s experts are on hand to discuss your ideas and help turn them into inspiring schemes. And, rest assured, we’re as keen as you to bring city spaces back to life again.

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