Green Valley Consulting Engineers
Principal: Liz Ellis
335 Tesconi Circle
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Green Valley Consulting Engineers (Green Valley) is a synergistic team of landscape architects and engineers committed to creating artistic, sustainable and functional designs that enhance the environment. Founded in 1997 by Principal Liz Ellis, Green Valley is located in Sonoma County, California. Our firm offers landscape architecture design and engineering consultation for a variety of different project types including: therapeutic garden design for hospitals, assisted living and skilled care facilities, as well as schools, parks, municipal and civic landscapes and more.
Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital Healing Garden
Client: Saint Joseph’s Health System
1165 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa, CA, USA
Acute care general hospital
A once underused, overgrown and bleak central courtyard in a bustling medical hospital located in the heart of the Sonoma County wine country has been transformed into a therapeutic and healing landscape where patients, family members and hospital staff can find comfort and relaxation within their day. Now, in the healing garden, people can wander along the scented garden paths and relax and enjoy their lunch at one of the café tables and chairs placed throughout the garden, or simply sit and meditate.
To transform the space Landscape Architect Sandra Reed (while with ZAC Architects) worked in collaboration with the Mentoring Program for Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital where staff were selected to participate in a project of their choice as a reward for outstanding service to the hospital. Working closely with this group of various hospital staff members, a design was formulated that achieved their goal of creating a respite from the hectic world of hospital life.
The project required the removal of old concrete pavement and seats and overgrown and declining shrubs. Trees were pruned to reveal their structure and natural beauty which allowed sunlight in to brighten up the space. New, columnar shaped trees with delicate structure and leaves were planted along the perimeter of the space to soften the effect of the concrete architecture and to create a sense of enclosure and movement as the breezes moved through their branches. A series of intertwining paths utilizing different materials including brick, decomposed granite and scented herb groundcover, move the visitor through color progression plantings. The new planting palette now features medicinal and therapeutic herbs and perennials. The color palette progresses in groupings of white flowering plants to muted yellows, pinks, and purples that culminate in reds and bronzes. Additional highlights throughout the garden include a mosaic wall, a hedge alcove with the Virgin Mary, water sculpture, rose court, stone labyrinth, and meeting and relaxation spaces with benches and café tables.
Hospice House of Petaluma
Client: Saint Joseph’s Health System
416 Payran Street, Petaluma CA, USA
Located on ¼ acre of land in downtown Petaluma, Hospice House of Petaluma has been providing quality, compassionate care to patients and families, as well as grief support and end of life care education, to the community for many years.
The design team charged with developing the landscape for their new site worked closely with a client focus group comprising of a variety of different people including administrators, nurses, bereavement counselors and office staff. To help flesh out the most appropriate, functional and beautiful landscape for everyone involved the group participated in imaging sessions, group sharing exercises, and numerous interactive design workshops.
The layout of the landscape was organized by a series of arcs including engraved brick pathways that lead visitors through a series of outdoor ‘rooms’. Throughout the different garden rooms the design incorporated pervious pavement consisting of decomposed granite with the sub-grade drainage engineered in such a way that directed the run-off toward swales surrounding the overall site. Each garden room was designed so that the visitor would be encouraged to stop and rest or make use of the spaces for quiet meditation, programmed bereavement sessions, or lunching during staff breaks. The overall effect ushers movement throughout differing spaces that collectively contribute to a sensory environment of modulated light, textured materials and flowery scents.
A large portion of the overall site was constrained by the need for space for parking, trash and recycle storage, leaving little room for gardens. To further add to the challenge, the building had a large setback requirement from the street taking away precious space for the garden design. To resolve this the parking lot was designed as a courtyard with a canopy of trees with boxwood hedges defining planting areas within the “court”. It also included a garden pavilion or “gatehouse” disguising itself from the trash. Given the makeover, City planners allowed the parking to be located in the front of the house, within the setback requirement – therefore reserving the side and rear site areas for gardens.
The planting palette in general was selected to provide for sensory perception – a combination of plant texture, color and scents, areas of sun or shade, as well as seasonal variety – including edible fruits and berries.