Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture

Document Type



This study used a post occupancy evaluation to assess the impact of an existing hospital garden on its users. Previous studies of hospital gardens have been of passive garden use. This study addressed gardens including physical therapy, while also considering the emotional, spiritual, and social aspects. The POE included behavioral observation, interviews with the designer and lead therapist, a staff survey, and a patient questionnaire. In light of historical information and contemporary theory, the results revealed issues to be addressed in the design process of future healing gardens, specifically those including physical therapy. The major issues included: the need for research of similar gardens when designing new ones and the consideration of all users in the design process, visibility of the garden from indoors and a strong indoor outdoor connection, provisions for inclement weather, accessibility, thoughtful plantings, careful maintenance, and volunteer support. These issues and contemporary theories were used to develop design guidelines specifically for gardens including physical therapy. These guidelines included designing goal-oriented spaces, using appropriate plant material, coordinating volunteer groups to support horticulture therapy, and increasing the dialogue between health care professionals and designers. The study concluded with the need for design professionals to be involved with initial design and site planning phases of hospital campuses. Simple landscaped areas and entrance beautification must not be substituted for healing spaces. Indoor gardens such as atriums and solariums need study. Future studies will require studying different populations for more specific garden design. The quantitative relationship between physical, emotional, spiritual and social healing may need defining to establish the permanency of gardens in health care settings and greater society. Landscape architects have the opportunity to use contemporary research to design gardens that impart healing to the human body in a new and profound way.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Anne Spafford