Client Brief: The Hospiscare Garden was designed to meet the physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of people with terminal illnesses, their families and caregivers. Hospiscare asked for a modern, spa-like and soothing garden.
Philosophy. This design was guided by the ideas of providing sanctuary and contemplation in a beautiful and contemporary garden. The garden is intended to be a place where people feel lifted from themselves and transported to a place which stimulates the senses while calming the spirit.
Design. Inspired by meandering meadow paths, the garden is curvaceous and contemplative. For year-round structure and interest, there is architectural structure with evergreen hedges. Trees have soft up-lighting and there is a vibrant under-planting of herbaceous perennials. Other key features include a sunken seating area with central water feature; recessed benches within plantings and Corten steel art to complement the purple and rust-coloured tapestry of flower plantings. The awning provides a shelter from the sun and rain as while providing a performance space. Trees and shrubs attract birds and butterflies. Privacy from neighbouring sight-lines has also been created.
- Seating and Water Feature. Three individual benches are recessed into plantings under tree canopies. Inside the circular seating area are additional benches for small groups of people. A focal point of the garden, the space feels like a refuge and embrace and is where a spherical water fountain is surrounded by a cluster of smooth river rocks. From here, paving radiates outward like water ripples from a pebble dropped in water.
- Flower beds. A restful, naturalistic planting of sumptuous purples and blue is set against Corten steel art designed by Kathryn Aalto. The flower composition is composed of plants that are mostly drought-tolerant so that maintenance is minimised. Mounded boxwoods add structure and evergreen colour to beds of herbaceous perennials.
- Year-round interest. Evergreen hedges of hornbeam and box define the space in all seasons. They add serenity, simplicity and greenery to the garden. The sculptural and multi-stemmed Amelanchier canadensis will be carefully trimmed to not exceed 3 metres. They offer interest all year-round: white flowers in spring, berries in summer and a flush of crimson and orange leaves in autumn. They are a repeating motif in the garden and create moving swirls of dappled light on the paving as the sun passes overhead.
- Paving. Slate pavers add a sophisticated and contemporary edge and look to the garden.
- Vegetable beds. Raised Corten steel planters provide a place for tending herbs and flowers and is a place for patients to get their hands in dirt and feel a part of nature.