Connect Healthcare and J. Wickham Zimmerman discussed the growing popularity of wellness gardens and water features in healthcare projects. As CEO of Outside the Lines Inc., a design-build themed construction company that specializes in creating one-of-a-kind rockwork, water features, and themed environments for around the globe, Zimmerman works with healthcare owners, developers, and providers to help them encourage healing while increasing profitability.
Connect Healthcare: Why are healthcare developments increasingly incorporating wellness gardens and water features into their designs?
Zimmerman: Gardens and water features enhance the ability of medical facilities to perform their missions of healing and hope.
Scientists have been studying the effects of healing gardens and landscape elements since the mid-1980s. These studies showed that looking onto or visiting gardens and seeing the trees, flowers, and water features had a positive effect on reducing recovery time for patients, reducing reliance on pain medications during recovery, and also relieving stress for hospital staff, improving their performance.
This quantifiable connection between aesthetics, experience, and healing has prompted many healthcare property owners to seek out specialists in healing gardens and water elements. For example, OTL recently completed work on several features within the Plaza Healing Garden at Cedar Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles (pictured above), which features four distinct gardens – the Garden of Whimsy, Blue Garden, Plaza Garden and Education Garden.
Connect Healthcare: What trends are you seeing in the design and incorporation of these elements?
Zimmerman: Water features are often signature elements in the design of wellness gardens. The subliminal connection of water as a cornerstone of life and well-being reinforces the nurturing qualities of these gardens. Healthcare owners and developers are incorporating unique fountains, artificial ponds and streams, and other water features. They’re also recognizing the beauty and environmental benefits of blending plant life into fountains and water elements.
Connect Healthcare: How can incorporating wellness gardens and water elements increase returns for healthcare owners and investors?
Zimmerman: While the primary purpose of healthcare facilities is taking care of patients, one must not lose site of the fact that these are businesses, and the healthcare space is becoming more competitive as new state-of-the-art healthcare facilities are continually developed and improved throughout the country. Owners and investors need signature features that set them apart from the competition. Wellness gardens and water elements support their primary mission while enhancing the consumer experience, increasing patient volume while decreasing recovery time, thus increasing profitability for a facility.
For questions, comments or concerns, please contact Jennifer Duell Popovec