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The Healing Power of Landscape Architecture

Written by: Sean McKenna

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As hospitals strive to provide holistic care, the significance of patient-centered design has gained recognition in recent years.

Landscape architecture profoundly influences patient care in hospitals by integrating natural elements into built environments, promoting harmony and tranquility. Research, such as a 2022 study from the NIH, indicates exposure to nature significantly boosts emotional well-being, reducing stress and fostering positive emotions.

Biophilia, the innate human tendency to connect with nature, underpins this approach. By incorporating organic forms, natural materials, and green views, landscape architects evoke positive emotions, enhancing patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes.

Effective landscape design considers the entire patient journey, from intuitive campus wayfinding to dedicated spaces for reflection. Especially in urban hospital settings, careful planning accommodates ease of orientation and provides essential areas of respite and renewal. Accessible rooftop environments, for example, offer valuable outdoor space for therapeutic healing and rest. Collaborating with design teams, the landscape architects at Hitchcock Design Group prioritize integrating outdoor spaces that foster healing and community.

As a holistic design approach, the integration of nature into hospital design not only enhances patient, staff and guest experiences but ultimately improves outcomes, making landscape architecture an indispensable element in modern healthcare design.

More than simply planting a garden (yes, let’s do that, too!), proper landscape architecture considers the entire patient experience, from the moment they encounter the hospital environment. Primary examples of this include reducing stress by creating intuitive campus wayfinding and integrating dedicated spaces that foster restoration and reflection.

 In urban hospital settings, outdoor environments need to be carefully planned to accommodate proper user orientation. The importance of providing intuitive wayfinding starts with a logical assemblage of drives, parking and building entries in the right location.

HDG collaborates with design teams to create vehicular and pedestrian circulation systems that are simple and offer users the most logical way to get to their destination. On their way, we provide positive distractions and amenities that make the campus a true healing environment on a macro scale.

Geoff Roehll, ASLA, CLARB | Senior Principal

Since joining Hitchcock Design Group in 1990, Geoff has directed landmark projects in the healthcare, real estate and senior living markets. In addition to his leadership role with Hitchcock Design Group, Geoff’s diverse background includes an annual engagement with the Chicago Botanic Garden as an instructor for the Therapeutic Garden Certification program. A graduate of Purdue University, Geoff has been a guest lecturer at regional and national healthcare conferences and enjoys sharing his ideas on site planning and landscape elements that promote patient healing.

Contact Geoff at 331.229.5426 or email him here.

View our Healthcare e-brochure here.

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