Our work with Mercy Hospital & Dignity Health has allowed us to create many stunning healing gardens throughout the Central Valley. Each project has presented its own challenges but one that was truly unique was our project neighboring the maternity ward at Mercy Southwest. When we first walked the property with the donors & hospital representatives, it was clear that we were going to have lots of work to do! The space was a sterile, cold, mass of concrete. Massive concrete columns defined the entrance & “welcomed” visitors to a bleak outdoor seating area. There were a few beautiful Flowering Pear trees that were established, but the rest of the landscape was minimal at best. Our clients wanted a welcoming space that could provide a relaxing space for employees, patients, & guests to take a break from the stress of their days.
Initially, we felt confined by the concrete. We could not remove it, as the client needed space for seating & for fundraisers. Therefore, we began working on a plan to work above the concrete! We designed three unique, living towers that would add a dramatic amount of vegetation to the space. One of these towers would be a stunning vertical garden that would boast over 1,000 plants! Atop each of these towers, we installed large Camphor trees to provide shade to those seated below.
Next, we focused on the landscape surrounding the Pear trees. We dramatically reshaped the border & added tons of blooming plants & shrubs so that everyone who sits in the space has a beautiful, lush view. Also, we addressed the oppressive concrete columns by wrapping them in a high-grade faux boxwood mat.
A key for us redefining this space was to make it as relaxing & welcoming as possible. In order to achieve this, we also added a trio of contemporary water fountains along the main walk that borders the garden. This way, even those simply passing by are greeting by the garden’s presence.
Once completed, the look & feel of the space had been completely transformed & now it is one of the most used environments on the hospital’s campus!