In 2007 the VIU horticulture students in HORT 131T, designed a garden that would be universally accessible and provide students and faculty with an outdoor lounge. This lounge acts as a hub or common gathering area for all who use the Paine Centre. The garden will accommodate 35 people for gatherings and celebrations. It is also available for students to use for lunch, breaks and games such as foot sac, croquet and boules. Areas of shade and sun will provide opportunities to enjoy the shoulder seasons while students are actively pursuing their studies.
The design draws on the presence of the forest and creates a transition from the built environment into the coastal Douglas forest that dominates the site. As a classroom for practical studies, the Garden Lounge provides opportunities for outdoor classroom activities and lectures, especially plant identification and practical garden maintenance.
The garden has been built in stages over the last 5 years by students and staff, as funding allowed. It includes a mix of flowering perennials, vines, shrubs and trees that may be used for curriculum at the Horticulture Centre.