Therapeutic Garden Design for Hospitals and Rehabilitation Centres

by WriterArtist

Therapeutic garden designs are an integral part of many Health cares, Hospitals, Old age homes and Institutions. The multifold benefits extend to both the patients and the staff.

Blank walls of hospital rooms, cool gloomy corridors of rehabilitation centres, nervous faces of patients, worried faces of family members and serious looking medical staff is the norm in most of hospitals.

Patients recovering from surgeries often stare at the empty wall devoid of any colour, brightness and motives. It is interesting to note that patient who could see a beautiful tree full of blossoms and greenery would face less complications post-surgery. These patients recover faster and go home sooner. These are the observations of Scholars, Researchers, Psychiatrists and Surgeons.

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Image Courtesy Wikimedia, Author Mbrickn under CC Attribution 4.0 International license

Rehabilitation Centres

Green Sanctuary

Waiting rooms in some hospitals open to beautifully landscaped gardens and well-arranged corridors. Imagine how relaxed the family and the patient feel when it comes to natural surroundings. Prevailing fear of operation theatres, nurses and doctors is bound to disappear.


Therapeutic Gardens : Design for Healing Spaces

Therapeutic Gardens: Design for Healing Spaces

Garden Therapy

Horticulture Therapy



Patients and medical staff in many case studies have quoted about being able to connect to the trees, bees, birds and butterflies. It all gave them a sense of satisfaction. They felt at ease, they did not have to prove to anyone, the reason of their physical and mental disorder, nor the need to recover at the pace dictated by others.


Institutionalized ageing people showed less anxiety and tension. Aggressiveness tended to diminish with horticultural therapies. Digging into the soil, transplanting a sapling created a sense of belonging to earth. Feeding the birds alongside the Greenhouse was an attractive outdoor activity to many. Similarly, watering the plants was self-satisfying. There could be many such activities for inhabitants to enhance the quality of life without any comparison and measurements. Each one is at his own pace.

Forest Bathing

How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness
Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness

Water Features

Principles of Healing Gardens

A well-crafted landscape can silence the noise pollution from an urban location. Landscapes, water features can mask the horns from rushing loud vehicles and noise from crowded buildings. It can be an oasis, a place where the patients and staff can stroll, relax and chat with fellow folks.

Waterfall creates a soothing sound, ornamental pebbles and rocks can add to the aesthetics. Fish and frogs can add to the still life. If required, there can be a place for the patient to touch water, converse with the beings in water roaming freely.

Aesthetics and Aromas from the Therapeutic Garden

Fragrant Plants for Garden


Flowering trees, plants and shrubs full of blossoms are a visual treat. And so are the fragrances emanating from the plants. Both play a major role in plant-person relationship. Either they can be arranged together in asymmetric fashion or separately for aesthetics depending on space availability.

Moving around should be without obstacles. A pathway defining the borders, railings or some kind of support for patients and wheelchair commuting should be possible.

Safety Concerns for Therapeutic Garden


Safety for patients and staff is of utmost importance. Patients showing inclination to psychosomatic disorders should be accompanied with a helper. Prevention of accidents, minimizing such zones, supporting mechanisms and securing the slippery water features are critical and MUST. We don’t want patients going from recovered state to critical by falling fatalities. Boundaries need to be secured for patients meandering into ‘No Entry’ zones.

Garden Views



Most of the patients who get a chance to heal with a garden view could relate to spirituality, comforting ambiance and refreshing air. Just the view motivates the patients to get well and explore outdoors.



I had to undergo hysterectomy six years back and was told by my surgeon to take walks after the surgery. Sadly, my walks were constrained to dull corridors. However, I did find my small solace during my leisurely walks. I was happy to greet and communicate with the few nurses I saw on my way back. It is only recently that many hospitals are being designed keeping nature in proximity.

A Garden Design All By Myself: Garden Views To Quiet Your Mind

A Garden Design All By Myself: Garden Views To Quiet Your Mind

Therapeutic Horticulture at the Missouri Botanical Garden

Sources Consulted

  • The Role and Application of Horticultural Therapy With Institutionalized Older People A thesis submitted to: The School of Social Work Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research McGill University, Montreal by Mary Jane McDowell August, 1997
  • Designing a Healing Garden for Three Patient Populations Based on Research, Theory, Observation and Interviews by Hayes Rogers Fairchild


Healing Garden in Leone

Leone Healing Garden
Leone Healing Garden
Author Fogāmaa : This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license
Updated: 05/09/2021, WriterArtist
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Do hospitals and institute house a garden or it is a total waste?

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WriterArtist on 05/10/2021

Blackspanielgallery - You are right. Trees and shrubs do absorb the sound and air pollution. Water features will be lovely addon. You brought a good point. The hospital should think of improving the acoustics to bar cacophony and retain peace.

WriterArtist on 05/10/2021

Dear DerdriuMarriner,
I would love to have a view of lawn or garden on my hospital stay. I even love wilderness.
If I have to design a therapeutical garden, and let's say there is ample space. I would plant variety of trees. I am in love of trees with blooms, trees with brilliant, curvy foliage, shrubs and herbs. I would love to have magnolia, bougainvillea and hibiscus. They grow tall and fill the sky. Ornamental plants with diverse foliage look awesome. Fragrant flowers and plants will do good to the quality of air. Herbs are good to for everybody, I would make sure to have them planted in some part of garden.

DerdriuMarriner on 05/10/2021

WriterArtist, Thank you for pictures, practicalities and products.
What plants would you have liked to have been around during your hospital stay?

blackspanielgallery on 05/10/2021

Trees and shrubs can make good acoustical devices that absorb sound. And water is a pleasant sound, whether running or falling, so water features are a good addition.

frankbeswick on 05/09/2021

As a person with an illness this article made me feel good. Thankyou.

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