About Therapeutic Gardens

A Word About Therapeutic Gardens

In recent years we have seen a significant upswing of interest in therapeutic gardens. These gardens are specifically designed to address a variety of applications within healthcare, rehabilitative and other therapeutic settings. In fact, the American Society of Landscape Architects maintains a professional practice network of consultants who specialize in designing therapeutic gardens.

A therapeutic garden 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 garden design and users’ needs. There are many sub-types of therapeutic gardens including healing gardens, enabling gardens, rehabilitation gardens, and restorative gardens.

What makes a garden therapeutic? The basic features of a therapeutic garden can include wide and gently graded accessible entrances and paths, raised planting beds and containers, and a sensory-oriented plant selection focused on color, texture, and fragrance. Learn more by reading AHTA's characteristics of therapeutic gardens.

Frequently, landscape designers collaborate with horticultural therapists to create beautiful spaces that accommodate people with a wide range of abilities. While these gardens may represent the ideal, successful horticultural therapy programs do not depend upon elaborate garden design. Likewise, a professionally-designed therapeutic garden without a horticultural therapy program is unlikely to deliver to its full potential.

To learn more about therapeutic gardens, please explore:

American Society of Landscape Architects; Healthcare and Therapeutic Design Professional Practice Network.

Therapeutic Landscapes Network, A resource for gardens and landscapes that promote health and well-being.

The Heart of the HospitalAt a level 1 trauma hospital in Portland, Oregon, nature is being deeply incorporated to improve patient care and outcomes through a therapeutic garden—gently transforming the hospital experience. For patients and their families; for hospital employees. Learn more at naturesacred.org/sacred_place/a-nature-place/