Social & Therapeutic Horticulture

Therapeutic Design

Category: Children, cognitive health, mental health, physical health, therapeutic design

Title: Nature as a healer for autistic children (2019)


Summary: This paper focuses on investigating the potential health and well-being advantages of engaging children with autism in nature. Guidelines for a sensory garden are provided, along with exploration of cognitive, mental and physical benefits of connecting with nature. Practical design elements are examined, along with a sight plan to demonstrate these principles in practice.

Category: Older Adults, therapeutic design

Title: Indoor Nature Interventions for Health and Wellbeing of Older Adults in Residential Settings: A Systematic Review (2020)


Summary: Most studies examine therapeutic horticulture outdoors; however, this review examines the potential health benefits of indoor gardening for older adults. Whilst the review finds inconsistent health benefits between studies it does highlight several factors which successful programs may support. Namely, supporting groups to interact socially, and individuals to feel in control of their experiences and to learn skills.

Category: Veterans, Therapeutic Design

Title: Evaluation of Military Service Member Preferences of Landscape Design Elements in Therapeutic Gardens (2024)


Summary: This study explored therapeutic garden design for the specific target population of veterans. 366 people responded to the online questionnaire, with clear differences in design preferences between military service members and civilians. Both like clear walkways, good lighting and natural views in a garden. However, military service members strongly prefer fences, gates and views that provide privacy, whilst having a clear line of sight to aid sense of safety.  These insights can help urban planners and landscapers design green spaces that better meet the needs of specific groups, highlighting the importance of creating inclusive environments.