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Gardens for therapeutic purposes, hospital gardens

“The garden face the essential touch of being with nature, the proposal just between the small inner world and the vastness of the outside world so that the balance is restored and the affected serenity.”
Roberto Burle Marx
The garden is defined as “an essential geographical space, symbolic place of a good nature, a reduction of the world, and therefore profoundly civilized” (1) bringing both “profit and joy to the citizens” (2).If a garden is a source of balance for a person without specific pathology, it is a fortiori for subjects with mental or physical disabilities, staying permanently or permanently in places of life and care.

The Therapeutic Purpose Garden is an outdoor space, integrated into a hospital or para hospital setting (hospitals, psychiatric, educational centers, for injured cerebral, for people with autism, elderly, vulnerable, fragile, dependent, disabled, …).

  • It preserves the necessary permeability so that the establishment is a universe that is both closed and secure but also open to the world and invigorating.
  • He is interested in people and creates situations of well-being and comfort where things are linked together by pacts extremely numerous.
  • It is not only to offer the possibility of living in a garden, but also to participate in its creation, its evolution, to take care of it.
The benefits experienced through the use of these Daniel Tyrrell gardens design are particularly recognized in Great Britain, the United States, Canada, Switzerland and Japan. Roger Ulrich (1945)  (3)  studied its benefits in many patients the fact of having a room overlooking a park (accelerated recovery of hospital patients after surgery), the nature “with therapeutic virtues by its simple presence ” (4) .


These benefits are multiple and vital:

  • Improving the quality of life and the well-being of all users. It can be experienced in relation to care, body, relationship, art, creation, culture. They are gardens to contemplate, to live, to take care of, to receive, to love each other; Gardens where plants useful to man are harvested; Gardens for intergenerational and intercultural links, concerning both the caregiver and the caregiver, families and the surrounding environment;
  • Patient health (sleep quality, reduced prescribed medications, appetite, improved cognitive function and attention capacity, reduction of stress and anxiety, decreased blood pressure, exposure to vitamins D through the sun…);
  • A quality of working environment and a renewed motivation of the medical staff.
The current gaps in the evaluation of scientifically measured health-related objectives leave the door open to some skepticism. To remedy it through studies carried out by the medical profession would make it possible to counter possible reductive discourses making their presence in all Places of essential care.


Many establishments have outdoor spaces, often still empty and disused green areas, which are capable of transforming themselves into therapeutic gardens, places of life on the ground, roofs or facades, Health, not in isolation, but in a holistic way, placing the individual in an interrelated environment “(5).
The elements to be taken into account when designing a hospitality and care garden are the suitability for the building, the environment, the users, the pathologies encountered in an adapted therapeutic approach, the relationship with the village, the city.
The principles remain the same as for any garden, maintaining a living diversity, not only of plant or animal species, but also of practices of conception, use, representation and realization.
The garden thus carries environmental legitimacy (conservation of biodiversity, landscape enhancement), social (insertion and social link), economic (nourishing and caring function).
People who take advantage of these gardens often talk about the pleasures they give them, describe their joys of seeing plants, flowers or fruits, feeling them, tasting them, touching them, taking care of them Time to the rhythm of the seasons, to see the trees, symbols of what grows and ages at the same time, to be connected with animals, water, produce food, trade or Exchange, create and participate in the life of the garden, its inhabitants, the village or the city, to share knowledge and experiences.
The task of the human being is to define on the basis of the possible, his reasons for being and act, borne by a creative energy; Creating, according to Nietzsche, “the supreme exigency” in generosity, capacity for action, disinterestedness.


The Nietzschean injunction to “divinize the world” is now necessary.