Designed to provide a safe and fun space for sick kids, the Happy Garden is decked out with an array of fanciful toadstools and giant flowers that form a wonderland for play.

Creating a space for ill children, especially those requiring longterm care, to find respite and joy while confined to hospital was the foundation for a magical garden created by OUTHOUSE design and Art Dinouveau.

The brainchild of Fairy Sparkle, The Happy Gardens initiative began in 1999. Since that time, a total of twelve gardens have been created in hospitals around the country to support children dealing with illness. With fresh air and sunshine essential to health and wellness, The Happy Gardens project provides well-designed spaces that encourage patients and their families to get out of the wards and engage with nature in a safe and fun environment.

Despite confronting health challenges on a daily basis, it is important for parents and sick children to have a space to call their own, and for hospital professionals like play and child-life specialists, to have an area to utilise in their work. In full support of this position, OUTHOUSE design and Art Dinouveau joined forces to transform a once unused balcony at the Sydney Children’s Hospital into a wonderland of playful fantasy.

OUTHOUSE design undertook the complete design and installation of the garden and utilised unique nature-inspired play sculptures and concept furniture from Art Dinouveau to complete the space. Wanting to develop an enchanted forest that was both low-maintenance and environmentally-friendly for patients, a sea of green lawn was created using synthetic grass. Floor and wall murals depicting forest elements enhanced the theme and formed the perfect backdrop for the nature-inspired creations of Art Dinouveau.

Renowned for the quality and magical whimsy of their play pieces, Art Dinouveau contributed two sculptural Giant Toadstools to the space, which provided shade and perfectly match the kid-sized Toadstool Table and Chair set that was also included in the design. In addition, Art Dinouveau Gum Leaf park benches were been dotted around the garden, one of which nestles beneath a life-sized tree mural, offering a cool place for visitors to sit and relax. Giant sculptural daisies can also be found in the Happy Garden. These larger-than-life colourful flower sculptures add vibrant charm – without the need for watering!

Oversized pots allowed for mature trees and scented shrubs to be used throughout the space, giving instant lushness. Hanging moss was draped from colourful archways to create a sense of mystery, and at the centre of the design sits the Magic Light Tree, replete with surrounding inbuilt bench seat to encourage relaxation and daydreaming. An open gazebo in the space also provides the perfect place to dream. Large enough to comfortably house a hospital bed, the gazebo features a skylight that allows young patients to look up at the stars and make a wish.

Required to be both functional and inspirational, the Happy Garden is accessible to all, and can even be observed from the windows of the isolation unit above. For children with compromised immune systems who are not allowed to leave their wards, the garden provides a magical green space to gaze upon - rather than a gloomy concrete walkway.

As Fairy Sparkle herself explains, "This is no ordinary garden. Sit under the gazebo, on the butterfly seats, or in the red dotted toadstool chairs and you can feel it. Through the combined skills and talents of all involved everyone brought their love to an empty concrete balcony for the good of all"

Thanks to the efforts of OUTHOUSE design and stellar play additions from Art Dinouveau, the new balcony fairy garden at Sydney Children’s Hospital is a hit with the whole hospital community.


Art Dinouveau

P  07 3289 0165


Landscape Architect | OUTHOUSE design | Steve Warner
Landscape Designer | OUTHOUSE design | Katrine Mardini
Natural Play Elements | Art Dinouveau
Landscape Construction | Outside Space
Floor/Wall Murals | Danielle Palmer

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