If you’re looking for good books on Landscapes for Health, I’ve just added a new feature to the Therapeutic Landscapes Database that allows you to link directly to Amazon.com to buy recommended books. I’ll be adding more books to more pages (like books on labyrinths and attracting wildlife to the Plants and Related pages), so check back again soon.
Highest on my Recommended Reading list is Healing Gardens: Therapeutic Benefits and Design Recommendations, edited by Clare Cooper Marcus and Marni Barnes (Wiley, 1999), and not just because I wrote the chapter on psychiatric hospitals.
Healing Gardens is, in my opinion, the most comprehensive book in this field. In addition to chapters on specific populations/types of facilities such as children’s hospitals (by Robin Moore), nursing homes (by Deborah McBride), Alzheimer’s treatment facilities (by John Zeisel and Martha Tyson), hospices (by Clare Marcus), and psychiatric hospitals (Naomi Sachs) – and each one of these chapters has historical background, literature review, case studies, and design recommendations – Marcus and Barnes also include an excellent introductory chapter; a chapter by Roger Ulrich on theory and research; and a chapter called “Getting It Done,” which I always direct people to if they’re thinking about building a healing garden at their facility. Lots of good information on fundraising and other nuts and bolts aspects. You can see a couple excerpts of it here, as well as write up by Todd Bressi and comments by jury members when the book won an award (EDRA/Places Awards for Design, Planning, and Research) in 2000.
One caveat: I recommend this book highly to designers, health and human services practitioners, and students. It’s an excellent resource, like a textbook. However, as Henry Domke pointed out in his review of the book on his Healthcare Fine Art Blog, it’s rich in information, somewhat poor in pictures. If you are a home gardener who wants beautiful photos and text that will inspire you for your own garden, this is not your book. For that, I would recommend the following five books, all of which I have and refer to again and again:
1. The Healing Garden, by Sue Minter
2. Healing Gardens, by Romy Rawlings
3. Gardens for the Soul, by Pamela Woods
4. The Healing Garden, by David Squire
5. The Healing Garden, by Gay Search
Happy shopping, happy reading.