What is a Healing Garden?

A. Rohlandt

A healing garden is a place of tranquility and sanctuary, where various elements work together to bring about a sense of well being and peace within an individual. These gardens can be broken down into three groups: healing gardens, meditation gardens, and sanctuary gardens. Experts have differing opinions on which features should be included in healing gardens, but some of the common elements are plants, sculptures, seating, and water features.

A water feature in a healing garden.
A water feature in a healing garden.

To allow individuals to relax in a safe and comfortable setting, a healing garden can be constructed anywhere, even indoors, and some are created in urban settings. Healing gardens can be created using the space available, which is why these gardens tend to vary quite a bit in size and design. Designers often choose to include water features because of their soothing effect, and in an ideal environment, those who use the garden should be able to see, hear, and even touch the water. Additional features depend entirely on the designer's preferences, but wind chimes and sculptures often find their way into healing gardens.

Roses may be found in a healing garden.
Roses may be found in a healing garden.

Meditation gardens are very similar to healing gardens but tend to be created in more private spaces so that the users can have a sense of seclusion. The main purpose of this kind of garden is to allow for reflection, introspection, and meditation, so the environment should be a private one, removed from outside influences and distractions. Labyrinths are a common feature of meditation gardens because they help focus the mind and are also useful when seeking solutions to everyday problems.

Sanctuary gardens are often found on hospital grounds. This type of healing garden consists of an area that has been preserved in its original state. Areas such as these can help patients in their recovery, not just by providing a place for light exercise, but by helping them to unwind. A sanctuary garden can only be used when weather permits, which can make it less versatile than other kinds of healing gardens.

Anyone can construct a healing garden, but the most important consideration is that the garden should have a calming effect on those who visit it. When creating a healing garden at home, the creative process can be given free rein, and the garden can include various elements. Some suggestions for a healing garden include seating and bird feeders, for those who enjoy watching birds. If a water feature or pond is present, fish may be introduced since watching them can have a very calming effect.

Meditation gardens provide a space for reflection and introspection.
Meditation gardens provide a space for reflection and introspection.

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