As a landscape architect, I am always humbled to observe how gardens have the ability to transform moods and connect people with nature at a very personal level. Healthcare Garden Design is a growing field where even the smallest garden spaces can have big impacts on the people who visit them. Gardens naturally create feelings of calmness and peace. New studies in healthcare are increasingly showing that the opportunity for patients to momentarily escape the indoor hospital environment and be in an outdoor garden setting, is an important part of healing therapy.

Annie’s Healing Garden was created out of the desire to transform an existing 1300 square foot ballasted roof space into an outdoor area of respite for patients, families and caretakers. The space was created to honor Anne Stuart Robinson, who worked as a nurse at Norton Hospital for over thirty years. Friends, family and co-workers collaborated to raise funds in order to transform the space into a healing garden that honors Anne’s memory after she lost her battle with cancer in 2014.

With special attention given to patient ease of use, the healing garden is designed to be ADA accessible and utilizes a variety of large colorful planters to provide structure and form to the linear space. LED lights strung in Japanese maple trees add a glowing warmth to the space. The plant pallet was selected to provide varying color and form throughout the seasons, including evergreen ferns that give texture in the winter. The benches mimic the plant material by incorporating a grass pattern in the seat back, while table and chair arrangements offer additional flexible seating. A recycled paver flooring system provides the opportunity for the client to incorporate memorial engravings. The space is completed by large free standing colorful metal sculptures that provide focal points within the garden.

Annie Stuart Robinson was dedicated to caring for patients through nursing, and now through this Healing Garden that bears her name, her spirit of healing lives on through the garden.

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