Contemporary Garden Design Ideas and Functions

Serenity Dove Sculpture

Contemporary Garden Design Ideas and Functions

Contemporary Garden Design Ideas and FunctionsHow Healing Gardens Work

Healing gardens have contributed to the holistic development of people for centuries. Technological advances have decreased the use of natural resources in the medical field, yet more recently, there has been a growing interest in the healing effects of nature.

Researchers, Kaplan and Ulrich, support the idea that landscape can be restorative. They purport that healing gardens providing a sense of fascination as well as a greater extent, separating users from distraction, reducing negative emotions, holding a person’s attention, and blocking stressful thoughts. Researchers have also found that nursing home residents with physical or visual access to nature have significantly greater caloric intake and exercise than those without.

Contemporary Garden Design Ideas and Functions Part 1

Yet, every contemporary garden design ideas and functions are not healing gardens. A healing garden should give a sense of restoration from stress and have other positive influences on patients, visitors and staff/caregivers. These healing landscapes can be located in or outdoors, but to qualify as healing “gardens” they should have real nature such as plants, water features, and/or sculptures.

Contemporary garden design ideas and functions vary based on the types of gardens as well as the benefits for each garden.

Traditional healing gardens are often found within or adjacent to indoor healthcare settings. Healing gardens can be found in mental health hospitals, schools and centers for the disabled, hospices and nursing homes; however, possibly the most popular examples of healing gardens are found within or adjacent to hospitals and Alzheimer’s treatment facilities.

Healing Gardens meant for users that are specifically ill or disabled will be useful to the extent that these special needs populations are present and able to physically or at least visually access these sites. However, even within a healthcare setting, healing gardens are often used by a larger population including staff and visitors as well as patients and/or residents.

Contemporary Garden Design Ideas For Hospital Settings

The Power of Gardens in a Hospital Setting

Contemporary Garden Design Ideas and Functions Part 2

When we enter hospital as an in-patient it is the institution that decides what we wear, when the doctor visits, with whom we share a room and perhaps even what we can eat. In short, we lose control over many issues that were ours to decide at home. The more a patient is able to exert a sense of control, the less they will be stressed. To enhance a sense of control within the garden there should be a choice of different pathways; a variety of semi-private niches to sit in; some fixed and some moveable outdoor furniture; a variety of views to enjoy when seated – some distant, some near at hand.

The material used for seating should not retain heat or cold: wood or hard plastic are preferable, while concrete, aluminum and steel should be avoided. While these form the basics of a healing garden, there are a few more requirements that are really just common sense. The garden needs to be sheltered; provide an ambience of comfort and familiarity; include plant materials appropriate to local climate and culture; have a budget for ongoing maintenance; and avoid the inclusion of ambiguous art pieces onto which sick people can project their feelings of fear and anxiety.

The garden needs to be visible from a well-used interior area (waiting room, foyer, cafeteria etc) or, if not, there needs to be adequate signage in the building to alert people to its presence. The garden needs to be accessible, not only with an automatic door and low entry lip to facilitate access by those using a wheelchair but it also needs to be unlocked.

Contemporary Garden Design Ideas and Functions Part 1

Therapeutic spaces in Action

serenity healing garden buleprintFor people with mental or psychological, rather than physical, problems, a series of remarkable therapeutic outdoor spaces are beginning to appear, including the Alnarp Rehabilitation Garden which encompasses a two-hectare site on the campus of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences at Alnarp in southwest Sweden. They allow participants (who not referred to as patients) who can no longer work because of depression or other mental illnesses are recommended to the garden program by their doctors, insurance companies or employers. They start by coming to the garden one morning a week, increasing to four mornings over a three-month period. While at the facility, patients can – if they wish – do nothing but relax in the quiet, hedge-enclosed Welcoming Garden; or they can do light gardening tasks in the greenhouse, vegetable garden or orchard; take a walk along a forest path; or relax in a large meadow. Art therapy, relaxation exercises, snacks, etc are available in a traditional house within the garden; weekly psychotherapy sessions take place in a geodesic greenhouse.

Contemporary Garden Design Ideas For Alzeimer’s Facilities

Facilities serving those with Alzheimer’s disease are recognizing the benefits of gardens as well. Firstly, it can provide a place for exercise, especially important for the general health of older adults. It can provide a setting where people can be in sunlight, especially important for the creation of Vitamin D, the promotion of healthy bones and the establishment of regular circadian rhythms and sleep patterns. A garden can also provide a relaxing locale for staff-led programs in gardening, crafts, memory recall, etc. In addition, an attractive garden is a pleasant setting for family visits and may encourage such visits.

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