Therapeutic Landscapes: An Evidence-based Approach to Designing Healing Gardens and Restorative Outdoor Spaces Hardcover – 20 Dec 2013
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"This is an exceptionally well–written, well–researched and well–illustrated book on designing and creating therapeutic landscapes. Rarely before has this topic been so thoroughly documented in one easy–to–read book that provides essential information to landscape architects, garden designers, healthcare workers, therapists and patients." (Linda A. Irvine, Landscapes/Paysages Magazine, OALA, FCSLA, ASLA; Manager, Parks and Open Space Development, City of Markham, Ontario, Canada)
"Taking time to get in tune with your surroundings and learn to love nature has proven a therapeutic process for many, including Naomi Sachs. Sachs is Founding Director of the Therapeutic Landscapes Network, and has been able to translate a personal passion for nature into a new book, co–written by Clare Cooper Marcus, which just came out this week called Therapeutic Landscapes: An Evidence–Based Approach to Designing Healing Gardens and Restorative Outdoor Spaces. The new publication has been long–anticipated and referenced as the "single most comprehensive and authoritative guide to designing healing gardens and restorative outdoor spaces." (naturesacred.org, October 2013)
From the Back Cover
The single most comprehensive and authoritative guide to designing healing gardens and restorative outdoor spaces
Therapeutic Landscapes focuses critical attention on the design and creation of landscapes that promote health and well–being, emphasizing the importance of evidence–based design to meet the needs of specific patient populations, as well as those of visitors and staff. It presents an overview of healing gardens and therapeutic landscapes from planning to post–occupancy evaluation and offers guidelines on which landscape architects, healthcare administrators, and funders to base their decisions.
Whether the outdoor space is a courtyard, a campus, or a roof garden; whether it is part of an acute care or a residential facility; or whether it serves children, cancer patients, veterans, or the elderly, this comprehensive guide delivers proven approaches to the design of beautiful spaces that reduce stress, encourage emotional equilibrium, support recovery from illness or injury, and help patients regain lost or impaired abilities.
Important features of this wide–ranging and closely detailed resource, include:
- Evidence–based guidelines for designers and other stakeholders in a variety of projects
- Patient–specific strategies covering twelve categories ranging from burn patients and psychiatric patients to hospice and Alzheimer′s patients
- Case studies of exemplary gardens that demonstrate best practices and provide inspiration
- Information on participatory design and funding strategies
- Chapters on research, planting and maintenance, horticultural therapy, and sustainability
Therapeutic Landscapes is an indispensable resource for landscape architects, other designers, students taking related courses, and healthcare administrators.See all Product Description
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There is one significant detail missing from the book description above (i.e. the material lifted from the back cover) - I was very surprised to find about 300 beautiful photographs and illustrated designs (all with the exception of one or two are in full color) perfectly nestled and numerically captioned to accompany the written text. The photographs are of such high quality, and each is appropriate to the educational components being described in each chapter. There is an average of about 1 beautiful image per page, and in a book about the therapeutic value of nature and design with nature in mind, this visual is so important - the book comes alive and the material is more relevant.
The written content itself is a precise match with its description - highly researched! It was obvious before even finishing the introduction that this project involved gathering and synthesizing a tremendous amount of cutting-edge studies (as well as historical documents) from a wide variety of medico-scientific and design publications. There are many texts that have attempted the same; however Therapeutic Landscapes excels because of the way in which the information is presented -
1. Just the right amount of historical background to provide a frame of reference
2. Makes the scientific case for evidence-based design with just the right amount of depth without being too technical
3. Explores the general and specific considerations and guidelines for design
4. Each chapter is referenced - how valuable!
5. International settings are discussed in detail
6. Beyond the photographs, case studies bring the text to "real world" application
7. Chapter contributions by noted experts (e.g. Teresia Hazen on patients and personnel as stakeholders in design) and Marni Barnes on how to actually plant and care for a therapeutic garden)
The back cover states that "Therapeutic Landscapes is an indispensable resource for landscape architects, other designers, students taking related courses, and healthcare administrators". It fulfills this promise, but is actually much more than that - it is an invaluable resource with very broad appeal, an instrument which can be displayed as exhibit A in changing the way we think about the environment!
So it was with great interest that I picked up this book on therapeutic landscaping. The publisher and the price point should make it obvious that this isn't a book for casual readers but more a text to be used in landscape design classes, for healthcare professionals, or for anyone who may be designing an outdoor space for people to rest and recover in. That said, the text is simple and clearly laid out and you don't need any kind of architectural or professional background to derive great benefit from the practical tips, clear photos, and steady guidance within.
Though I have picked up multiple books on how to design gardens for people with disabilities, how to select tools and plants, and what to consider when creating healing gardens, this book is far and away the most authoritative and clear compendium of every consideration you will need to create a therapeutic landscape in pretty much any setting. The book covers issues of liability, signage, best practices for pathways and seating and more. In addition, there are numerous statistics in many areas were scientific research is presented that share the specific benefits of different kinds of therapeutic landscapes, which is helpful if you'd like to create a therapeutic landscape but need to win over a boss, board or committee in order to get funding or the go-ahead.
There is nothing unprofessional about this book. Though in certain circles things like art therapy, garden therapy, and therapy with pets are seen as a little soft or woo-woo, the landscapes shown as examples, the advice given, and the scientific research backing the importance of landscapes in hospital and other settings makes it impossible to dismiss these types of landscapes as being unworthy of the funding or the energy to create.
Overall, if you are in the landscape design field and see yourself designing public or commercial spaces or even just residential spaces for people who may be differently abled in some way, this is a vitally important book for you to have for your reference library and to read. Not only will you enjoy the process of learning more about the topic, but the information is top-notch and easy to find when you are embarking on relevant projects.
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