Archive for the ‘Built Works’ Category

Healing garden for a veteran wins national award

Friday, July 25th, 2014
Harvest Home -  Julie Melear

The Wounded Warrior home, built for the Solar Decathalon, with its award-winning landscape design

George Washington University graduate students Julie Melear, Janet Conroy, and Mary Sper’s landscape design for HARVEST HOME, a Wounded Warrior home built for a veteran, has won the Gold Award in outdoor design from the Association for Professional Landscape Design (APLD). The house was designed and built by college students competing in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon, which challenges collegiate teams to design solar powered houses that are cost effective, energy efficient, and attractive.

The goal for the solar competition was to create a comfortable and healing environment for its resident, a military veteran battling a combination of physical and emotional trauma. The landscape design – which was the basis of Julie Melear’s master’s thesis – continued the house’s conservation theme with the following outdoor elements:

  • A rainwater cistern to collect 100 percent of the roof runoff;
  • Deck tiles made from recycled tires;
  • A beehive and compost bin;
  • Two organic gardens with edible plants.

The house, including the outdoor landscape elements, was donated to Wounded Warrior Homes in the San Diego area and a veteran has already been chosen to occupy the home.

C:Users�1haakDocumentsTeam Capitol DC Solar House_01haak(Rec

Site Conditions
The house sat on tarmac at a former Marine Corps base in Irvine, California. The lot measured 78’ x 60’ and the house had to face south to maximize sun exposure on the solar panels. On both sides, an invisible 52-degree angle established a Solar Envelope which had to contain house and landscape. The project was subjected to a limited water supply and harsh Santa Ana winds during the competition.

Client’s Needs
HARVEST HOME was Team Capitol DC’s entry in the US Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon. In October 2013, 20 worldwide collegiate teams competed to design and build zero energy homes that were also attractive and affordable.

Design Intent/Project Description
HARVEST HOME was designed for a returning war veteran suffering from PTSD. All aspects of the landscape were designed for the health of the veteran as well as the desire to reconnect him to community and family.

The foremost design goal was to create a peaceful and healing environment for the injured war veteran.

The second was to incorporate sustainable elements that raise the home’s energy efficiency and showcase the value of responsible landscape design.

The third goal was to work within strict parameters including temporary installation, harsh environment, tight space and solar envelope limitations. The concept for the design, “Erasing the Lines”, incorporated this theme in all design decisions.

Harvest Home -  Julie Melear

The final landscape plan doubles the square footage of the 900 sq. foot home through use of ramps, decks and landings and creates an enjoyable way to take advantage of the mild climate. The Harvest Deck showcased a unique dining table featuring a water rill and herbs down the center of the table. This high impact water feature provided sensory stimulation for the residents and combined with the rustling grasses on the north edge of the deck to reinforce the restorative qualities of nature.





Environmental Responsibility
Irvine is in the Native Coastal Scrub plant community. Many of the plants selected were native to the region and able to withstand adverse climatic conditions without additional intervention. Two vegetable gardens provide fresh, organic produce enhancing the veteran’s ability to heal both physically and emotionally. Research shows that working with the earth engages the homeowner in a restorative, healing activity that stimulates positive growth.

Due to the temporary nature of the exhibit and the growing interest in new farming techniques, the edibles were planted in recycled milk crates. These modular units could be changed based on the season and weather conditions. Not only are they easy to use, they are very affordable and represent alternative methods of gardening.

Other energy efficient elements included a cistern, which collected roof rainwater. This stormwater, along with grey water was used to irrigate many of the plants. Additional sustainable practices included recycled materials, solar lighting, a beehive, a compost bin and a clothesline used to save energy when drying laundry. We built a system that harvested valuable resources to create a home that is both sustainable and beautiful.

Harvest Home - Julie Melear


The first therapeutic garden in Romania!

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Planting in Romania healing garden

Landscape engineer Nicsanu Marcela recently posted a photo on our TLN Facebook page with an image of raised flower beds and this caption: “First therapeutic garden in Romania!” That was pretty exciting. I emailed her to ask whether she’d like to do a guest blog post, and she agreed. Here is her post:

The first therapeutic garden in Romania opened its doors in June 2014, at Mocrea Psychiatric Hospital in Arad County. This first garden opened the way for horticultural therapy, a healing method used in almost some psychiatric hospitals in Western Europe and the USA.

Romania garden arbor

The garden covers an area of about 1,500 square meters and is composed of three major areas:

  • The area where the preparation of the floricultural material takes place (on specially constructed tables, patients work with seeds and sprouts in pots);
  • The wooden box area (garden beds built to facilitate arranging flowers, ideal for group therapy);
  • The ground garden area (patients can arrange the resulting material in various arrangements).

And so, the patients can follow their work in stages, thus being responsible for the very first seed put into the pot labeled with their names, then replanting the first seedlings in larger pots until the final result to transplant them into one of the raised planters or the ground.

The plants used were chosen based on their role, so there are three distinct categories:

  1. Sensory plants (Sedum, Miscanthus, Salvia argentea);
  2. Aromatic plants  (Mentha piperita, Ocimum basilicum, Thymus, Melissa);
  3. Plants that are relaxing by color and fragrance (Lavender, Jasmine, Impatiens, Dianthus, Euonymus, Clematis, Rudbeckia).

Over 3,000 plants (flowers and shrubs) were planted. On the working tables, we started the therapy with 100 envelopes of perennials and annual flower seeds and 150 bulbs.

Approximately 40 patients were drawn to this horticultural therapy with different tasks, for example: Watering flowers in the garden or pots, weeding,  replanting seedlings, peeling dried flowers, putting  seeds in pots, and arranging the garden beds.

The first therapeutic garden in Romania wants to be the leading horticultural therapy in Romania to support patients who are in the process of rediscovery and recovery.

Landscape engineer- Nicsanu Marcela Romanian healing garden

Many thanks to Landscape engineer Nicsanu Marcela (center) for this post!


The Enabling Garden at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital

Sunday, March 9th, 2014
Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital

A lily pond and lush plantings make this garden an excellent place for rehab work.

Horticultural Therapy is, in a nutshell, the use of plants, gardens, and other aspects of nature to improve people’s social, spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being. Check out the HT page on the TLN website, and the organizations American Horticultural Therapy Association and the Horticultural Therapy Institute for more information. The new book, Therapeutic Landscapes: An Evidence-Based Approach to Designing Healing Gardens and Restorative Outdoor Spaces also has a great chapter on HT, written by the inimitable Teresia Hazen at Legacy Health in Portland, OR.

Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital

A horticultural therapist works with a client

The HT program at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital is well-established and respected in the field. Thanks to Pam Young, the Horticultural Therapist there, for this description of their program, and for the accompanying photos.


Boston Children’s Hospital’s Prouty Garden under threat of demolition. Guest post by Clare Cooper Marcus

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013
Boston Children's Hospital Prouty Garden

The Prouty Garden at Boston Children’s Hospital has served as a tranquil green urban oasis since 1956

The Prouty Garden at Boston Children’s Hospital has, for generations of patients, family members, and staff, served as a much-loved retreat from the clinical atmosphere inside. The garden was created in 1956, sponsored by Mrs. Olive Prouty whose two children had died in the hospital. Now it is under threat of demolition as the hospital looks for space to expand on its very urban site.

A petition to save the garden has already garnered over 6,500 signatures, but they need more! Please sign and help spread the word. Newspaper articles and radio reports (see, for example, WBUR and The Boston Globe) have taken up the story to plead for the retention of this irreplaceable green oasis.

A Scientific American article last year called the Prouty Garden “one of the most successful hospital gardens in the country.” Though though constructed long before our research-based knowledge of the critical issues in hospital garden design – it is almost perfect as a restorative space in healthcare. (more…)


Wednesday, September 11th, 2013
Photo by Henry Domke,

Photo by Henry Domke,

I don’t usually make titles all in bold, but this is such an exciting opportunity, I wanted to grab your attention.

Vendome Group, publisher of Healthcare Design, Environments for Aging and Behavioral Healthcare, is excited to announce our inaugural The Landscape Architecture Award for Healthcare Environments!

Landscape Architecture projects will be featured in a special digital magazine that will reach more than 80,000 readers.

Highlights of this program include:

  • An ideal audience: Projects will be seen by Architects, Designers, Administrators, C-Suite Executives within healthcare communities, and more.
  • Recognition for exceptional landscape architecture and design within 3 categories: Acute Care, Senior Living and Behavioral Healthcare.
  • A low entry fee: Cost to enter is only $350 per project.
  • Expert Panelists: A jury of industry experts will choose one winner and runner-up within each of the 3 categories to be published in the digital magazine.

Award winners and runners-up will receive:

  • A 2-page spread, at no cost, featured in the digital magazine.
  • A prestigious award engraved with the firm and facility names; and
  • Editorial coverage in 2014.

All other firms with accepted projects will have the option to include their project in the digital magazine for a nominal fee.

As the Director of the Therapeutic Landscapes Network, I can’t tell you how excited I am about this program. Oh, wait, I just did.

Applications are due SOON – 9/20/13 so pull your material together and submit it!

To learn more, visit: