VireO Design Studio, LLC

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VireO Design Studio, LLC

Jan Satterthwaite, ASLA, L.E.E.D.™
Seattle, WA
Phone: 206.409.9970


Vireo [Latin]: 'To be green, verdant; to be lively or vigorous'
VireO Design Studio, llc is dedicated to creating personalized life-enhancing designs for healing, learning, living and playing in the landscape. Our designs strive to be conscious of environmental as well as health impacts. We work with clients ranging from simple healing herb gardens for single family residences, to urban therapeutic gardens, to hospital master planning. Our studio has the artistic and sensitive design experience to create outdoor living spaces that inspire the soul.

The founder, Jan Satterthwaite, ASLA, L.E.E.D., is an experienced public artist and award winning designer whose interest in landscape architecture has been a lifetime journey that first began with intuition and learning to read place. Later it was leavened by observing the landscape via world travel, freelance work in art as well as experience living with cancer. Her design philosophy is drawn from a dual sensibility—in aesthetics and evidence based design. It is the intersection of the intuitive design process and a sensitivity to individuals with special needs where she finds design can successfully influence environmental change and promote therapeutic health benefits. Having once been a cancer patient, her focus is on the human experience in the landscape, with consistent themes appearing in her design exploration—a profound engagement with site and a modernist faith in the ability of design to transform both site and human response.


VA Puget Sound Fisher House
Veterans Peace Garden
Seattle, WA, USA
Meditation & healing garden for families of veterans (right-hand image)
This transformative garden project was sparked by the energy of the Friends of VA Puget Sound Fisher House™ working in collaboration with students at the University of Washington Dept. of Landscape Architecture Design/Build program. The new landscape is intended to soothe the souls and refresh the spirits of the military and Veteran families staying at Fisher House. The concept design for the garden embodies the “healing journey.” One enters the garden through a threshold of trees, leading to a central plaza. The focal point of the plaza is a “reflection” sculpture composed of metal bands weaving through a bed of ornamental grasses, suggesting the movement of wind. The plaza is surrounded by textured, colorful, and aromatic plants to delight the senses. The pavilion is also marked by metal panels depicting a dove and olive branch motif, referencing peace and healing. An extended woodland restoration garden completes the “healing journey,” symbolizing both spiritual and ecological reclamation.
Click here to view description, plan, renderings, and images of the garden.
Click here to view a video of the project, from build to finish.

Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital
Yakima, WA, USA
Healthcare Master Plan
Successive arrangement of ADA pathways, viewing plazas, a meditation meadow and interactive elements to provide staff, patients and children opportunities for restoration, meditation, & healing.
[Project design while at Berger Partnership]

Fircrest Rehabilitation School
Seattle, WA, USA
Healing Garden
Fircrest provides specialized, high-quality personalized service to the most challenged individuals with developmental disabilities. It serves a diverse population of people who are medically fragile, multiply handicapped, and behaviorally challenged. The accessible garden serves a dual purpose: as outdoor therapy and mitigates the displacement that residents undergo to provide a reconnection of a familiar ‘home’ landscape. A production zone, consisting of raised gardening beds and work tables, provide a space for horticultural therapy activities. A play and exploration zone, with a series of sensory paths, a wheelchair chime and interactive game table address cognitive skills. The zones can be chosen by individuals or caregiver groups. For users with low social skills, severe autism for example, parallel play or gardening may represent the highest level of social interaction they can manage. For others, gardening side by side may inspire social interactions not stimulated by more passive activities. In addition to the therapeutic aspects of the garden, a memorial circle was installed to commemorate the memory of residents, parents, guardians and friends who have passed away as well as other life celebrations and memorable events in Fircrest history.
Click here to view images of the garden.

Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital
Tacoma, WA, USA
Restorative Healing Garden (left image)
Children in any kind of environment like to make up imaginary worlds to cope with adversity and the challenge of growing up. In this healthcare setting, a whimsical and colorful planting design offers children, parents and visitors a sense of surprise and delight, awakening a new part of consciousness and relief from a potentially stressful hospital environment. A more contemplative garden behind the facility offers staff and visitors a place of refuge and respite.[Project design while at Bruce Dees & Associates]

U.W. Bnai Brith Hillel House
Seattle, WA, USA
Restorative teaching garden (center image)
Amongst the hustle & bustle of a busy urban university campus, the design for this project serves a dual purpose:  visitor respite and contemplation combined with an educational experience.  Natural materials have been selected to reflect the local vernacular.  Seating boulders and entry arbors define outdoor rooms that evoke a transition to nature.   They are functional but they also respond to human needs, built on a scale to welcome and reassure.  Plants were chosen with a biblical or historical meaning to serve as a catalyst, inspiring students and guests to reach out to their past.  The design was as much about creating a functional outdoor story room as it was about deepening personal knowledge and attaining peace with oneself.
[Project design while at Bruce Dees & Associates]


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Seattle, WA

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