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

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Authors
Nicholson, Abigail
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University of Guelph
Abstract

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.

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