Professional Practice

Adult: Hospital Recovery

Health Benefits of Nature Header

According to Dr. Roger S. Ulrich, Professor of Architecture at Texas A&M and member of The Center for Healthcare Design, demands on our health-care system are increasing across the board. The U.S. population is growing older. At the same time, there's a push for both lower costs and increased quality.
How Nature Helps

Dr. Ulrich’s famous study published in  Science  showed that patients with views of trees in their rooms had much shorter post-operative stays than others in the study that had views of brick walls. He also states that designing hospitals so that patients have access to nature and other positive distractions will reduce their recovery time.

Further research published in Psychosomatic Medicine show that access to natural light in post-operative patients reduces their use of pain medicine and their recovery time.

Explore More Resources:


Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well Being, Esther M. Sternberg, M.D., 2009 

"The Effect of Sunlight on Post-Operative Analgesic Medication Use,"
Psychosomatic Medicine
, 2005
"Effects of Healthcare Environmental Design on Medical Outcomes,"
International Academy for Design and Health, 2000

View Through a Window May Influence Recovery From Surgery,” Science, 1984

List of Horticultural Therapy Gardens, Legacy Health


Therapeutic Landscapes Network 

The American Horticultural Therapy Association


Role of the Landscape Architect

Landscape architects work with hospitals to design gardens that allow patients access to fresh air, sunlight, and beautiful plantings, all things that have been proven to help decrease the amount of time a patient takes to heal.

In the case of The Walter Reed Green Road, ADA-compliant trails combine with exercise stations, which allows recovering veterans to start on the path to recovery with the benefit of a natural environment.

Case Studies

Directory of Healthcare Gardens

Walter Reed Green Road, Bethesda, Maryland, Alt Architecture + Research Associates



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