Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture

Document Type



This thesis explores therapeutic garden design and its role in landscape architecture. It also conducts a post occupancy evaluation (POE) for an existing therapeutic landscape. The St. Michael Health Care Center campus, Texarkana, Texas, is a Sisters of Charity institution and was designed and built in 1994 as a healing environment for patients, staff, and visitors. In this thesis, A POE was conducted to determine (1) user-perceptions and utilization of the campus, (2) whether the campus reduces stress and fosters restoration, and (3) any barriers or constraints to use of the campus. Results from visual analysis, behavioral observations, and survey questionnaires indicated a number of benefits of the campus. The campus was perceived as a place of stress reduction and restoration. However, there was a lack of knowledge of the history behind the design and the healing benefits of the campus, and some areas were not utilized as often or as effectively as intended. Interviewees recommended changes for the campus, such as the inclusion of more flowers and greenery, and more raised beds for outdoor therapy. In addition, certain areas required more maintenance. Based on the findings, recommendations for improvement were made. These findings can subsequently be used to inform guidelines for the design of future Sisters of Charity institutions, as well as other exterior hospital environments. By adding to a body of research, this evaluation provides a service to all of those involved in the design of healthcare facilities such as owners, users, medical planners, architects, interior designers, artists, and landscape architects.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Suzanne Turner