Spending time in the fresh air surrounded by nature has numerous health benefits, including decreased stress levels. Organic liquid fertilizer can help transform your lawn from brown to green and, in turn, create a better atmosphere outside for you and your family to enjoy. Because of their powers of relaxation and the tranquil environment they create, sensory and healing gardens are becoming more popular outside of homes across the U.S. Check out the following article to learn more:
Nature can have a soothing, restorative effect, and some gardens are designed to heighten this feeling. Sensory and healing gardens, traditionally part of children’s or botanical gardens as well as health care facilities, are now becoming more widespread. They are even becoming popular in private residences.
“These gardens have been in use for thousands of years,” says Sharon Coates, landscape designer and vice president at Zaretsky and Associates, Macedon, New York, a landscape firm focused on residential and health care design and installation. “Both Asia and Europe have pioneered the use of gardens as healing devices long before we had any empirical evidence of their impact. In the U.S. today, the Chicago area and Portland, Oregon, in particular, have a proliferation of beautiful sensory gardens, partly because of forward-thinking people spearheading the concept.”
Arcadia Studio in Santa Barbara, California, has been increasingly involved in designing sensory and healing gardens for its Southwestern U.S. clients. Bob Cunningham, a principal landscape architect at Arcadia Studio, explains the difference between a healing garden and a sensory garden. “A healing garden is any garden designed to promote healing through use of calming elements and exposure to peace, quiet, privacy and relaxation,” he explains. “A sensory garden addresses the senses, including touch, sound, smell and visual stimuli. A sensory garden can be a healing garden, but it must be designed with the user in mind. For example, a healing garden for cancer patients should not include plants or other elements that might be harmful to patients with compromised immunity. It should include only plants that are very low pollen generators or plants whose pollen is not harmful or irritating.”
Sensory gardens can be enjoyed by the wheelchair-confined, paralysis and stroke victims, Alzheimer’s patients and even the blind, says Bruce Zaretsky, president of Zaretsky and Associates, who is certified by the Chicago Botanic Garden in health care garden design. “Since they are designed to be interacted with, you can, for example, touch the leaves, smell the flowers and listen to the wind chimes without using your sight. While we strive to design our healing gardens for physical interaction, this does not in itself make a sensory garden. In our view, all gardens are healing gardens if they make the user slow down, remain calm, spend more time outdoors and ‘stop to smell the roses.’”
Zaretsky has designed sensory gardens not only for hospitals and clinics, but also for equine therapy facilities and animal shelters. He has even created private outdoor residential spaces for families of children receiving outpatient care.
“It has been scientifically documented that garden views and the gardens themselves shorten the length of hospital stays, reduce the amount of pain medication needed and improve the mental well-being of patients,” Zaretsky says. “Natural habitats act as therapeutic, healing tools, lowering blood pressure and reducing stress. But these environments are not just beneficial for patients, they are also there to allow staff and patients’ families to decompress. Nature heals all it’s just that simple.”