Archive for the ‘Healing Garden’ 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!


Enter now! Landscape Architecture for Healthcare Communities awards

Friday, June 27th, 2014
Smilow Cancer Hospital healing garden

The stream at Yale-New Haven’s Smilow Cancer Hospital. Design by Towers Golde. Photo by Naomi Sachs

2013 was a momentous year for landscape architecture in healthcare design: It was the first year that Healthcare Design and Environments for Aging held the Landscape Architecture for Healthcare Communities Awards.

The projects were chosen by two different panels of jurors – one for Acute Care (Healthcare Design) and one for Senior Living (Environments for Aging and Long-Term Living). Acute Care and Senior Living project award winners were featured in the December digital issues of Healthcare Design and EFA magazines. Acute Care award winners were also featured in the May/June 2014 print edition and will be honored in November at HEALTHCARE DESIGN14 in San Diego, CA. Senior Living project winners were honored at the Environments for Aging conference in May.

And here’s more good news: They’re doing it again! Submission are due for both categories on July 14, 2014 so get busy with your applications.

This is a terrific opportunity for landscape architects and healthcare facilities with successful therapeutic landscapes to showcase their work, and for everyone else to see the best examples of how it should be done. (more…)

Gardens in Healthcare – Earlybird registration ends 2/1

Friday, January 24th, 2014
Legacy Emanuel Children's Garden

Legacy Emanuel Children’s Garden. Photo courtesy Legacy Health

Earlybird registration for Legacy Health’s annual Gardens in Health Care conference ends February first!

The Gardens in Healthcare conference: Therapeutic Landscapes: An Evidence-Based Approach to Designing Healing Gardens and Restorative Outdoor Spaces
When: Fri, April 4, 2014, 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Where: Lorenzen Conference Center, Legacy Emanuel Medical Center, Portland, OR

Featuring the new book: Therapeutic Landscapes: An Evidence-Based Approach to Designing Healing Gardens and Restorative Outdoor Spaces, John Wiley & Sons, 2014.

Marni Barnes, LCSW, ASLA, APATH
Clare Cooper Marcus, M.A., MCP, Hon. ASLA
Teresia Hazen MEd, HTR, QMHP
Duncan R. Neilson, Jr., M.D.
Naomi Sachs, ASLA, EDAC


Therapeutic Landscape Colloborations Forum

Monday, September 30th, 2013
Harvey Zarren Healing Gardens

Harvey Zarren Healing Gardens at North Shore Medical Center’s Union Hospital, Lynn, MA

October 17 forum on evidenced-based design

What distinguishes a garden from a healing garden?  The main difference is the way in which a healing or therapeutic garden caters to its targeted users such as cancer, rehabilitation, psychiatric, or eldercare patients.

At an upcoming forum at Union Hospital in Lynn, Mass., designers, researchers, and healthcare providers will gather to discuss landscapes in healthcare settings that promote health and well-being. “Therapeutic Landscape Collaborations: Successful Evidence-Based Design” will take place October 17, 9 am -12:30 pm, at the North Shore Medical Center’s Union Hospital.

This presentation pairs healthcare providers, researchers and designers that focus on creating healing spaces and restorative landscapes to promote health and well-being. The experts include physicians, therapists, designers, architects and landscape architects whom will demonstrate down to the cellular level why gardens heal, and explore how different aspects to a healing garden can promote healing in different user groups. Examples of healing gardens will be shown and participants will tour the Dr. Harvey Zarren Healing Garden at the site as a case study. The program is sponsored jointly by The Landscape Institute and The Underground in cooperation with the North Shore Medical Centers Plant Operations Department.

Panelists include Harvey Zarren, M.D., F.A.C.C; Christine Wojnar, Feng Shui Institute of American; Elizabeth Ericson, FAIA, LEED AP; Deborah Gaw, Owner, Garden Scapes Landscape Design; Lisa Bailey, ASLA, Bayleaf Studio; David Jay, ASLA, LEED AP, O+M Weinmayer/Jay Associates; and Anna Pelosi, Lead HRO, NSMC Inpatient Psychiatry Services and Manager of Patient and Family Relations Department.

To learn more about the October 17 forum and to register, send an email to or visit

To learn more about the Harvey Zarren Healing Garden, visit the NSMC website – you can link from there to a nice photo gallery.