Christmas is a magical time of year. This year it involved an epic tale of engineering as we installed Santa’s Grotto in the Macquarie Centre, North Ryde.

Once again, we were delighted to be working with award-winning landscape designer Outhouse Design. This will be a Christmas to remember for shoppers at the Macquarie Centre and their children.

The beautiful landscape design from Outhouse Design was complemented with set design and decorations from Chas Clarkson, Australia’s premier full service commercial Christmas decoration and illumination company. Engineers were involved to ensure that loads and weights (over 13 tonnes) did not exceed floor bearing capacities.

In late November, under cover of night, the Outside Space crew built Santa’s Grotto over three nights. Alpine Nurseries, one of Australia’s largest wholesale nurseries, in business for more than 40 years, delivered 235 plants. We were there to unload it all in one big night!

Installation of the gardens and decorations took up the next two nights, alongside the Chas Clarkson team. The Santa set, including the grass throne and cave, arrived on two semi trailers, along with a large truck full of decorations and a forklift. The final set design included a 3D printed glow-worm cave, 8 soft toy butterflies, oversized lady bird models and 2 resin wombats!

On the third night, final dressing and testing took place to ensure all was ready to roll for Santa’s arrival on Saturday, 30 November. The set sound and lighting is automatically controlled while Santa and his team of 4 photographers receive visitors.

Good Causes

Outside spaces can make you feel good, if not great — even when they’re inside. We try to extend the wellness they generate through the supply chain, supporting local communities whenever working on landscape construction projects. We firmly believe that giving back is good for us, the team’s mental wellbeing, and the communities we support.

With what started as a simple verbal brief in situ with Outhouse Designs, to an “is this possible” discussion with the Christmas specialists at Chas Clarkson we all delivered an incredible display for adults and children to enjoy not only in our centre but in their own homes when Santa returns to the North Pole and our plants are purchased by the community. This is where the careful and skillful hands of Outside Space come in, nurturing the plants daily to keep them healthy to ensure our customers can take this garden home and the proceeds they raise go to three very worthy charities.

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Maintaining Santa’s Grotto

Thousands of visitors have already been through Santa’s Grotto. A crew of three from Outside Space are maintaining the plants through to the Grotto’s scheduled closure on 6 January. Excellent logistics, plant choices, design and ongoing maintenance will ensure a memorable Christmas experience for all who visit. If you’re in the neighbourhood, drop in.

We’ve had an excellent 2019 and the work is not done. We’ll have more news on that soon. But, before we get back to it, we’d like to wish you and your loved ones a very happy and safe Christmas, from the entire Outside Space team!

If there’s something you’d like to discuss with us, as always, please get in touch. If not, we’re looking forward to catching up in 2020!