Garden design for health and well-being

Friday  7 June  2019  10:00 AM    Friday  7 June  2019 4:30 PM
Save Saved
Last update 08/06/2019

We all know that simply being in a garden can offer a health boost. We all feel better for a day in the garden and gardeners appear to have reduced levels of the hormone cortisol which corresponds with lower stress and better sleep. 

On this new course well-known garden designer Olivia Kirk will focus on the nuts and bolts of designing gardens within a variety of caring environments.  These are specialist gardens providing respite from a clinical world - a restless world with call bells buzzing, phones ringing and busy staff.  These gardens will not provide a cure for many of the people who use them but the therapeutic benefits will be enormous to patients, their families and the staff who care for them.

This two day course will draw from Olivia's experience in designing gardens for many hospices throughout the UK together with dementia gardens and her award-winning work with St John’s in Lichfield which is one of the many historic almshouses found throughout Britain providing sheltered accommodation for older people with neighbourly support and care.

The two days will include a mix of lecture and small group workshops with group feedback sessions. During this course we will cover different topics that will enable you to: 

  1. Understand the overall concept of healing gardens within a variety of caring environments – hospices, care-homes, dementia centres, alms-houses & hospitals
  2. Discover what a healing garden is and the part does it plays in patient care
  3. Assess who you are designing for and how different stakeholders use the gardens
  4. Study overall design considerations for specific types of therapy/well-being garden
  5. Select appropriate planting for a healing gardens with an introduction to the importance of low allergen planting. 

There will also be an introduction to the concept of  ‘emotional mapping’ for a building, exploring how this will inform the type of landscape design required.

The course is organised to allow you to work with what you have learned on day one on any projects you may have before day two, which is three weeks later. Both days are held in our facilities at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.

The course is particularly suitable for all garden designers, landscape architects and landscapers seeking to gain the tools and professional knowledge about this growing area of design. 

Olivia Kirk 

Olivia Kirk is a senior tutor and lecturer with the London College of Garden Design and in her own work specialises in designing healing gardens.

She has worked throughout the UK with many hospices designing the landscapes around new-build and hospice extensions firstly as a director of KKE Architects which she founded with her husband in 2005 and more recently with her own garden design practice, Olivia Kirk Gardens.  

She is recognised as one of the UK's leading experts for planting low allergen gardens in the public domain, building on the success of her low allergen garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2010 which went on to be replanted outside the new National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit.  The most recent article she contributed to appeared in the 2018 March issue of The Garden – ‘Not to be sniffed at’ highlights the lack of understanding when choosing plants and trees for the public realm. 

She has designed many show gardens including her gold medal winning garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show for Worcester Bosch ‘The Power of Nature’ which explored ways in which green technology can be incorporated into our gardens for both our benefits and for the future of our planet.

Sarah Wilson

Designer Sarah Wilson will also be helping on both days. Sarah has worked on a number of gardens for therapy and won an RHS Gold medal at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show for her garden exploring synesthesia.


What are my transport/parking options for getting to and from the event?

For details on how to get to Kew Gardens please visit our website page here Further details on accessing Kew Garden on the day will be sent to you in advance

Are refreshments included?

Refreshments are not included but we are right next to the Orangery Cafe at Kew which has options for all dietary requirements.

culture art courses
Nearby hotels and apartments
The Orangery Conference Centre
RBG Kew Gardens, Richmond, Surrey, United Kingdom
The Orangery Conference Centre
RBG Kew Gardens, Richmond, Surrey, United Kingdom
Event from