A Best Practices Guideline for Healing Gardens: An Analysis of Design Principles, Modern Herbals, and 19th-Century English Asylum Landscapes

Nicholson, Abigail
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University of Guelph

Although 19th-century English asylums possess a dreadful history regarding the treatment of their patients, the landscape designs of these institutions provide a learning opportunity for contemporary landscape architects when designing therapeutic garden spaces. By examining two historical asylums that continue to be used as mental health facilities in England today, a design framework was established to produce a best practice design guideline for creating future healing gardens. This study evaluates and analyzes the institutional landscapes of The Retreat in York and Bethlem Royal Hospital in Beckenham and implements a mixed-method investigation including the use of expert interviews, photographic documentation, journaling, document analysis, an autobiographical ethnography, and case studies. This research provides a best practices guideline for landscape architects to design healing gardens for mental health, with the support of colour theory, the principles of design, and therapeutic garden frameworks.

Therapeutic Landscapes, Landscape Architecture, Healing Gardens, 19th-Century Asylums, Mental Health, Mental Illness/Disorder