Outdoor Classroom made from recycled plastic benches and fencing panels

Deanery School, Cashel, Co. Tipperary | Fence Project – Recycled Plastic | Principal: Elma Cooke


Principal Elma Cooke of Deanery School in Cashel Co Tipperary was faced with a common issue that many schools have, they had unused playground space adjacent to the school. The plan was to build an outdoor, open air learning garden to inspire the kids that used it. The school was looking for a solution that would maximise the use of the limited space, while improving the aesthetic and functionality of surplus space alongside the edge of the building.

Clasroom Cashel Before

Clasroom Cashel Before

The Challenges

The school budget for the project was limited so life-span of solution was critical, while the available space was an unusual curved shape that made using standard building materials tough to shape without massive wastage and expense.

The Solution

Following an initial phone call with Irish Recycled Products, Principal Elma Cooke realized that the best solution would include a “Green” element of creating an Eco-friendly outdoor classroom. Elma learnt that not only is recycled plastic help eradicate the mountains of wasted plastic, but that this indestructible product itself had an even greater benefit of being reusable furniture that looks great and is MAINTENANCE FREE, answering all the needs of her school project.

In December 2103 the school site was surveyed by the team, and design plans were made to maximise the use of the space, while ensuring the ultimate safety of the pupils. The plan included erecting a fenced area that would provide a sheltered and excluded area ideally designed for outdoor education. The material solution was made of curved galvanized steel for structural durability, onto which recycled plastic profiles were fitted to form a curved picket fence. All works and design were in association with Irish Recycled Products.

The outdoor patio was designed for maximum impact for the pupils and to ensure easy access to the teacher. Using 1.5m long recycled plastic chestnut benches the patio space was formed into a hexagon shape.

All profiles and benches are 100% recycled plastic, and 100% safe with no maintenance, chipping, cracking, or splinters.

On-going Benefit

Elma, her teaching team, and especially their pupils will enjoy the many hours of learning in the great outdoor classroom, or at least when the weather permits!


Both the staff and the children in The Deanery School in Cashel are delighted with the new outdoor teaching and seating area. The children love taking their lunch outside as they now have somewhere to sit and eat! We look forward to getting lots of use out of the benches for teaching purposes as they are positioned in a way that lend themselves perfectly to story telling, drama, circle time. The picket fence provides us with shelter and makes our seating area very safe as it is on a bank. The benches have a smooth finish, no sharp edges or splinters to contend with! We are delighted also that the products are maintenance free! A huge thank you to John, he was a pleasure to deal with and catered for our needs perfectly in the school.

Principal, The Deanery School, Cashel 

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