The importance of care home gardens
Care homes have transformed their designs in many ways over time, however the landscape is often the last place to receive care and thought. New developments often fail to invest in the outdoors, and existing homes often have grounds that are difficult for residents to access, and devoid of interest.
This is such a missed opportunity as outdoor spaces offer so much to the health and wellbeing of residents, their families and staff. Our work over the years has shown how a well-designed garden encourages residents to be more active, to find renewed purpose in garden hobbies, and gain mental uplift from daily contact with the natural world.
Care home landscapes also bring important benefits to staff and families, providing respite and shared interests and a topic of conversation with residents.
For residents with limited mobility and few opportunities to venture into their wider community the garden offers their sole connection with the outside world.
It is hard to avoid the indoors feeling institutional to some degree in care homes. The garden however offers a real opportunity to add more domestic touches and make a space that feels personally meaningful.
Making care home gardens
Our approach to care home landscapes comes from implementing designs for developers and organisations, both new build and renovations. We have learnt a lot from working with care homes and finding out what residents and staff value.
Introducing nature-based activities in dementia care homes and other residential settings has also proved a great way of bringing nature into day to day lives.
We use the following principles to maximise the potential of any care home garden or greenspace.
Attention to detail
We know that making spaces that are rich in detail motivate people to go outdoors and be more active.
Keeping things familiar
By using familiar plants and attracting wildlife residents are more likely to draw on memories and feel comfortable.
Great gardens have plants that bloom and display throughout the year. Scent is an important consideration especially in the winter months. A care home garden is a crucial seasonal reminder reflecting the time of year.
Gardens are the ideal place for making a social hub. Residents can spend time with families and friends and staff can benefit from important respite.
We are experienced in improving existing spaces where inexpensive modifications can lead to quite significant benefits for residents.
Resident led design
By involving the residents of Trevarna care home from the earliest stage we were able to design a care home garden that met the resident’s wants and desires. Working closely with occupational therapists and care staff ensured that we were able to meet resident’s support needs.
The beautiful new garden features seasonal plantings, both quiet and social spaces, familiar home garden style plants and a range of shade and seating. It has proved popular with residents and staff alike and is being lovingly looked after.
Small changes, big results
Small interventions at Marina Court transformed a previously neglected green space into a community garden. The creation of a sensory trail repurposed the feel of the garden taking residents on a journey and giving them a reason to spend time out there.
New landscape design
Working with a developer at the inception of retirement housing developments has allowed us to design age friendly landscapes across the country. These gardens include social spaces, mini private gardens and multi-seasonal plantings all designed to encourage residents to spend more time outdoors.