Therapeutic Garden Benefits & Creating A Healing Garden

what is a therapeutic garden

Therapeutic Garden Benefits are reducing stress, improving well-being and helping people with disabilities increase their independence.

PowerPACPlus’s Summary

  • What is a therapeutic garden?
  • Gardens may offer a variety of mental health benefits.
  • To create a therapeutic garden, it’s important to consider garden settings that are conducive to relaxation and reflection.

What is a therapeutic garden?

A therapeutic garden, according to the American Horticultural Therapy Association, is “a plant-dominated environment purposefully designed to facilitate interaction with the healing elements of nature. Interactions can be passive or active depending on the design of the garden and the needs of the users.” Some of the types of therapeutic gardens include sensory gardens, healing gardens, restorative gardens, activating gardens and habilitation gardens.

what is a therapeutic garden

Benefits of therapeutic gardens

Physical Health Benefits

Therapeutic gardens provide many physical health benefits to those who spend time in them. Studies have shown that being in a garden can reduce stress and anxiety levels, while also calming agitation in those with disabilities, dementia

Walking through the gardens or participating in therapeutic horticulture activities can help increase mobility, strength and endurance.

Additionally, the presence of plants has been linked to improved air quality, which could reduce respiratory ailments such as asthma or allergies.

With all these therapeutic benefits, it is no wonder why therapeutic gardens are gaining popularity among those looking for physical and mental wellness.

Mental Health Benefits

Gardens may offer a variety of mental health benefits. People with dementia can benefit from gardening activities as part of their rehabilitation.

Stress can be reduced through horticulture therapy, which involves viewing and interacting with plants. Cognitive functioning can be improved, along with mood and quality of life.

Studies have also shown that therapeutic gardens can contribute to overall well-being. Spending time in nature can help people relax, improve their mood and reduce stress levels.

In addition, research indicates that using horticultural therapy may help reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Gardening activities have been linked to increased self-esteem and enhanced social interaction skills as well.

Social Benefits 

Therapeutic gardens are a great way to improve mental and physical wellbeing in people of all ages. They provide a peaceful and calming environment, as well as opportunities for social interaction.

Studies have shown that spending time in nature can reduce stress levels, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, and improve overall health.

Additionally, therapeutic gardens offer educational opportunities for those who wish to learn about plants, gardening techniques, and the environment. By providing a safe environment for people to come together and appreciate nature, therapeutic gardens can promote social connection and foster a sense of community.

Accessible garden design

Gardens designed for therapeutic use must meet certain criteria to be designated accessible. Planning a garden can be done in collaboration with a landscape architect or nursery who has knowledge of state and local regulations regarding accessibility.

In addition to specific provisions, much more goes into the planning of these gardens. From plant selection to colors, textures, scents and sounds (and occasionally taste), preparation can take months for a small garden to a year or more for larger projects.

accessible garden design

How to Create a Therapeutic Garden 

Creating a therapeutic garden can provide an escape from the daily stressors of life and help to improve mental health.

To create a therapeutic garden, it’s important to consider garden settings that are conducive to relaxation and reflection.  Indoor gardening is also an excellent option for those with limited outdoor space or who live in climates with harsher weather conditions.

Horticulture can be used to create beautiful and calming environments by choosing the right plants, trees, and flowers. With the help of a gardener, you can make therapeutic garden design that fits your needs and desires. The use of horticulture can also be used to address specific issues related to mental illness such as anxiety or depression.

By creating a peaceful atmosphere in your therapeutic garden, you can find solace during times of distress or simply enjoy its beauty for leisurely activities.

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The basic features of a therapeutic garden may include wide and gently graded accessible entrances and paths, raised plant beds and containers, and a sensory-oriented plant selection focusing on color, texture, and scent.

Your healing garden should have a focal point for meditation and reflection. Suitable focal points include a piece of sculpture, a special plant, interesting rocks, or a water fountain. Be aware that brightly colored objects or other unnatural garden art materials can take away from the healing effects of your garden.

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