Therapeutic Garden Design Ideas Healing Space For Healthcare

Therapeutic Garden Design

Therapeutic Garden Design concept is relatively new, but it has already gained recognition as an effective approach to healthcare and community well-being. In this article, we will explore the benefits and design elements, as well as the role of horticulture and landscape architecture.

PowerPACPlus’s Summary

  • The design concept is relatively new, but it has already gained recognition as an effective approach to healthcare and community well-being.
  • Designing a healing garden is a complex process that requires careful planning and attention to detail.
  • Use biophilic design principles to create a space that is healthy and welcoming.
  • The design  should take into account the specific needs of different patient populations, incorporate elements of nature and biophilic design principles, and include features such as sensory stimulation, accessibility, and safety

Definition and Benefits

Therapeutic gardens are outdoor spaces that are specifically designed to promote health and well-being. They are designed with the goal of improving physical, mental, and emotional health through the use of nature and outdoor spaces. They can be found in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, and community centers.

Their benefits are numerous:

  • Provide a peaceful and calming environment that promotes relaxation and reduces stress.
  • Provide an opportunity for exercise and physical therapy, which is particularly important for geriatric patients.
  • Improve cognitive function, memory, and attention, particularly in patients with dementia.
  • Studies have also shown that exposure to nature can improve psychological health, including reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression.

The Five Types of Healing Garden

There are five main types

  • healing gardens
  • enabling gardens
  • meditative gardens
  • rehabilitative gardens
  • restorative gardens.

Each type of is designed to serve a different purpose and meet the unique needs of patients and visitors. Below are brief descriptions:

Healing Gardens

Healing gardens are intended to facilitate physical rehabilitation and healing. These are often located near hospitals or other healthcare institutions and are intended to provide patients and their family with a tranquil and calming environment.

Typical components of healing gardens include water features, strolling routes, and benches for rest and relaxation.

Healing Gardens

Enabling Gardens

Enabling Gardens

The purpose of enabling gardens is to increase accessibility and safety for people with impairments. Typical characteristics include raised beds, broad pathways, and wheelchair-accessible seating.

Horticultural therapy, which uses plants and gardening activities to boost physical and mental health, is frequently employed in enabling gardens.

Meditative Gardens

Meditative gardens is intended to encourage calm and reflection. They frequently consist of relaxing elements such as running water, smooth stones, and a diversity of flora.

The grounds are great for anyone in search of a peaceful area to rest and ponder.

Meditative Gardens

Rehabilitative Gardens

Rehabilitative Gardens

Rehabilitative gardens aim to encourage physical rehabilitation and exercise. Frequently, they include horticulture therapy-friendly elements like walking trails, exercise equipment, and trees.

They are perfect for individuals who are recovering from an illness or injury and need to regain strength and movement.

Restorative Gardens

Restorative gardens are intended to create a tranquil setting for individuals facing stress or emotional distress.

These frequently contain elements such as shady seating places, relaxing water, and plants with renowned medicinal effects. The grounds are great for anyone seeking a spot to relax and reenergize.

Restorative Gardens

Elements of Design

The success depends on the design elements that are incorporated into the space. Here are some key elements of design that are commonly found:

Common Elements

Therapeutic landscapes often include elements such as walking roads, benches, and water. The goal is to create a space that is calming and welcoming, and that promotes healing and relaxation.

Sensory Stimulation

Sensory stimulation is an important aspect. Gardens are designed to engage all five senses, including sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. This can be achieved through the use of trees, water, and other design elements.


Accessibility is a key consideration in design ideas for garden. The space must be designed to accommodate people with different physical abilities. This includes features such as wheelchair-accessible paths, raised garden beds, and seating that is easy to get in and out of.


Safety is also an important consideration in healing landscape design. The space must be designed to minimize the risk of injury, particularly for people with mobility or vision impairments. This includes features such as non-slip surfaces, railings, and well-lit paths.

A Short History

Therapeutic gardens have a long history dating back to ancient times. The Romans, for example, built gardens as part of their healing temples. In the 19th and 20th centuries, hospitals and other healthcare facilities began to incorporate gardens into their designs as a way to promote healing and relaxation.

Icons of Healthcare & Healing Garden’s Design: Clare Cooper Marcus

Clare Cooper Marcus is a prominent person in the creation of zen gardens. She is an emeritus professor in the Departments of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at Berkeley, California. Marcus has written extensively about the benefits and worked on several prominent projects in the sector.

Therapeutic Garden Design

Designing a garden requires careful planning and attention to detail. Here are some important considerations:

Therapeutic Garden Design

Establish Goals

Prior to commencing the design process, it is crucial to set clear objectives. What is the garden’s function? Who will employ it? What type of experience do you wish for your visitors? These questions will aid in guiding the design process and ensuring that the final product meets user requirements.


Hardscaping refers to the non-living components of a garden, including paths, walls, and structures. These features in a healing garden should be developed to improve accessibility and safety while also contributing to the overall aesthetic of the space.

Incorporate Water, Sound, and Lighting

Water, soundtracks, and well-designed illumination can all enhance the sensory experience. The sound of running water, for instance, can have a calming effect, while well-placed lighting can create a quiet and pleasant environment.

Attract Wildlife

Horticultural gardens can be designed to attract a variety of wildlife, including birds, butterflies, and bees. This not only adds to the beauty of the space, but can also help to create a sense of connection to nature and promote biodiversity.

Provide Seating

Water, music, and well-designed lighting can all contribute to an enhanced sensory experience. The sound of running water, for example, can have a calming effect, and well-placed lighting can create a peaceful and pleasant atmosphere.

Make Focal Points

Visual elements that catch the attention and give interest to a garden are focal points. These may incorporate sculptures, water features, and meticulously arranged plants. They can serve to generate a feeling of visual variety and interest, as well as contributing to the garden’s overall appeal.

Choose Plants

It is vital to choose the proper plants for a garden. They should be chosen based on their visual and olfactory appeal, including texture, color, and aroma. They should also be selected with the needs of the users in mind, such as selecting trees that are low-maintenance or good for allergy sufferers.

Reduce Maintenance

The design of healing gardens should prioritize maintenance simplicity. This may involve selecting low-maintenance trees, implementing drip irrigation systems, and structuring the space to minimize the need for regular upkeep.

Grow What You Like

Individuals can connect with nature and develop their own plants, which is one of the benefits of therapeutic gardening. Visitors should be encouraged to cultivate trees that they find personally important or delightful, as doing so can benefit their mental health as a whole.

Evoke Memories

Visitors’ recollections and emotions might be evoked by trees and other garden features. Designers could consider including elements that are likely to evoke favorable memories or feelings, such as plants linked with a specific period or place.

Grow Your Own Tea

Popular activity is cultivating herbs and other plants that can be used to create tea. Not only does this allow visitors to connect with nature and cultivate their own trees, but it can also promote calm and mindfulness.

More Hints

Designing a healing garden is a complex process that requires careful planning and attention to detail. Here are some additional hints for creating a successful one:

  • Consider the needs of different user groups, including geriatric patients, individuals with disabilities, and children.
  • Use biophilic design principles to create a space that is healthy and welcoming.
  • Consider incorporating physical therapy elements

Below is the idea for you to build your own healing garden, let watch this video!


In conclusion, therapeutic gardens have become an increasingly acknowledged and vital component of healthcare facilities and public spaces. These gardens provide patients with physical, psychological, and social advantages, as well as educational opportunities and an increase in biodiversity. The design of therapeutic gardens should combine nature and biophilic design concepts, as well as sensory stimulation, accessibility, and safety aspects.

The notion has developed over time to match changes in healthcare procedures and landscape architecture, and its origins can be traced back to ancient civilizations. Modern figures such as Clare Cooper Marcus have contributed significantly to the development of garden design.

As healthcare professionals and landscape architects discover the benefits of incorporating nature into healthcare and community spaces, the significance is anticipated to increase in the future. New design and technological improvements will make these spaces even more successful at fostering health and well-being.

It promotes health and well-being by providing a tranquil and serene setting, lowering stress and anxiety, enhancing mood and cognitive function, and promoting physical exercise and social contact.

Typically, a team of specialists, including landscape architects, horticulturists, healthcare providers, and community members, is involved in the design.

While constructing for people with disabilities, it is essential to consider accessibility, safety, and sensory stimulation, as well as the users’ specific requirements and talents.

It can be implemented into a healthcare setting by situating it adjacent to or within a hospital, nursing home, or other healthcare facility, and by including it into patients’ overall treatment plan.

Certainly, a growing body of evidence supports the benefits, which include enhanced physical and emotional health for users.

Consider speaking with a professional architect for landscape or horticulturist who has experience building in this aspect and incorporating community members and healthcare practitioners in the design process to begin designing a healing  garden.

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