Kudela & Weinheimer has designed landscape for over 100+ healthcare facilities, many of which include healing gardens and other therapeutic landscape elements. Healing gardens have been used for over a thousand years to aid in healing of mental and physical ailments. The purpose behind a meditation/healing garden is to provide a soothing, peaceful and relaxing place that evokes calmness, which research has proven to have therapeutic benefits. Roger Ulrich, a professor at The Center for Health Systems and Design at Texas A&M University, presented a paper entitled “Health Benefits of Gardens in Hospitals” that focuses on the importance of including landscaped healing gardens to reduce stress and provide a pleasant distraction to compliment the sterile hospital architectural presence.
The healing gardens at the Menninger Clinic, John M. O’Quinn Campus, are lush landscaped grounds that are functional, maintainable and visually pleasing. The Menninger faculty and staff recognize the importance of including healing gardens at their facility, and carefully considered the landscape development from Kudela & Weinheimer for the site. With a 50-acre site, we were able to conceptually design and create a cohesive and beautiful healing medical campus. The original site began as a flat, uninteresting, unwooded area that we transformed to have over 650 trees, 50 of which were mature “Century Trees” used in the courtyard. The smallest trees used on the site were 100 gallon.
While a healing garden must be simple, to keep the space easy to understand, it also needs to include a variety of texture, forms and color. We invested an ample amount of time conceptualizing the landscape for the 4-acre medical courtyard which hosts a labyrinth, berms, seating areas and meditation gardens. Custom artwork and sculptures provide a hard-surfaced interest to the healing gardens. An outdoor therapeutic saltwater swimming pool and outdoor dining arbor contribute to socialization and physical activity that is imperative for mental well-being. All of these landscaped pockets provide an easy to understand, soothing outdoor space with a healthy variety of sensory stimulation to aid in the recovery of the Menninger Clinic’s patients.
There are a few special and unique touches that are a part of the landscape design, including a 2-ton sculpture, “The Vital Balance,” a sand volleyball court and a chef’s herb garden located outside of the open kitchen. Each unit also includes an open air landscaped terrace for a more private setting. In addition to these noted special features, the Menninger Clinic Campus was also designed and built to LEED certification standards.
Read more about the role landscape architects play in healing the human mind here.
Slideshow images include: The Menninger Clinic | Houston, TX; Memorial Hermann-Sugar Land Campus | Sugar Land, TX and Himalaya Herbal Healthcare Clinic | Sugar Land, TX