Orlando House is a scheme based in Brighton specifically for teenage parents. It supports customers who are facing multiple challenges and in need of a high level of support.

Last year, I met with tenants to discuss how to improve their courtyard. When we met the space was very drab; plain paving slabs, dull wooden fences, and the only plants in the raised beds were weeds.

The tenants at Orlando House said that they didn’t use the space as they felt it was uninviting and not very child-friendly. They said they would like to see the fence painted, new plants put in and if possible a better floor which was safer for the children.

As the yard doesn’t receive any direct light, the space presented us with the challenge of finding plants that thrive in shade. There are not many colourful plants which like full shade, but we managed to find some climbers which will do the trick.

Tenants at Orlando House chose a bright blue and yellow colour to paint the fence, a welcome change from the old grey. Tenants helped paint the fence and local artist volunteer, Luci, used stencils to create a colourful design consisting of flowers and butterflies to go on top.

Lastly we approached Flexflooring to install rubber flooring to make the floor safer and more attractive for children. Again, we asked tenants what type of design they would like for the floor, and we decided on a pond motif with fish. Flexflooring came to Orlando House in November and finished off the space, and it is now ready for the tenants and their young children to enjoy in the spring.