Our second stop on the “meeting before the meeting” tour of gardens at healthcare facilities in the San Diego area (with the ASLA Healthcare and Therapeutic Design Professional Practice Network, organized by Chris Garcia) was the Don Allen Memorial Courtyard at the Sharp Mesa Vista Psychiatric Hospital. The garden was designed by Schmidt Design Group and was built in 2010.
This courtyard garden serves the part of the hospital devoted to substance abuse patients. I believe that some are in- and some are out-patients, but don’t quote me on that.
For various reasons that I won’t bore you with, I’m pressed for time and so I can’t go into depth about this garden…but here are a few impressions and picures, as well as the narrative from Schmidt Design Group’s website:
Don Allen Memorial Garden Created as a therapeutic garden for Sharp Mesa Vista Psychiatric Hospital in San Diego, the Don Allen Memorial Garden provides an atmosphere of relaxation for patients and visitors to enjoy nature as they go through the recovery process. The garden features a specially designed water fountain, a koi pond, seating areas for small gatherings, ornamental walls, lush plantings, and an elaborate labyrinth.
I was impressed with this garden. The courtyard is completely surrounded by the one-story building, which creates a feeling of enclosure and security. The two water features (a koi pond more or less in the center of the space that’s fed by a lovely waterfall, and a bubbling basalt fountain at the entrance) and lush plantings make this space feel like a calm, cool oasis.
Visitors have many seating options, including table and chairs in two different locations; a larger seating area under a shaded pergola with some fixed benches and some moveable chairs; another smaller seating area with moveable chairs; and a semi-circular stone seating wall that allows for 1 to 6 or even 8 people to sit comfortably.
An arched wooden bridge leads over the koi pond, allowing visitors to lean on the railing and gaze at the beautiful koi fish (which are apparently named after the staff!).
The gardeb is small, and yet is designed with many paths, seating areas, things to do (including a lovely labyrinth), look at and listen to, and so it ends up feeling much larger, while still being serene, intimate and nurturing.