Recently, I had the opportunity to work with Benefis Healthcare on the design of a patient rehabilitation garden at the Benefis West Campus in Great Falls, MT. The intent of the project was to build a space where patients undergoing treatment at Rehabilitation, Wound Care, Transitional Care, Behavioral Health, or Cardiac Rehabilitation, along with their their family members, could find comfort outside of the hospital setting.
The challenge of the garden design was that the proposed location, an upper level of a two-story parking garage, needed an overhaul. As you can see in the before photo, the parking surface was eroding and contained large holes that leaked water and ice onto the cars below. Due to structural concerns, much of the parking area was chained off and inaccessible. Before human bodies could be rehabilitated here, we first needed to rehab the space.
Our structural team and roofing specialists fist did extensive work to repair the structure and seal it from the elements. Upon that, a roof garden could be constructed.
The design of the rehab garden is both poetic and functional. The forms of the walks, screen walls, and patient gardens were designed with the idea that the path to rehabilitation winds through a garden. The gentle curves unify the space and provide a welcoming contrast from the rigid forms of the parking garage.
The garden has space for patients to stand or sit and get their hands dirty in raised planters. Stairs, ramps, and ground surfaces such as textured pavers, grass, and gravel allow patients to experience many different surfaces and obstacles they may encounter in everyday life.