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Garden Research

Patients, families, staff and researchers will benefit from a new therapeutic terrace garden near Legacy Emanuel Medical Center’s Family Birth Center and cardiovascular intensive care unit. The TKF Foundation has awarded a $560,000 Open Spaces Sacred Places grant to fund the space, conduct clinical-outcome research about the benefits of therapeutic gardens and contribute to the body of knowledge in evidence-based design. 

Nature Sacred 


A Nature Space: watch our progress

  • A Nature Space - rendering

    Professional rendering of "A Nature Space"

  • Before image number one

    Before image

  • Before image number 2

    Before image - view #2

  • Groundbreaking Tools

    Groundbreaking tools

  • September 11, 2013 ceremony

    September 11, 2013 ceremony

  • TKF Books for all guests

    TKF book for all guests

  • Infection control permit


  • Demolition


  • Scaffolding


  • Constructing raised beds - December 2013

    Constructing raised beds - December 2013

  • Overlook Terrace - view of children's garden

    Overlook terrace view of childrens garden

  • FBC view out

    View out

  • Bed assembly

    Raised beds assembly

  • FBC garden shed

    Garden shed

  • FBC trellis


  • FBC recycle tree

    Recycle tree

  • Ready for the ramp and overlook

    Ready for the ramp and overlook

  • Pavilion ready for railing

    Pavilion ready for railing

  • Pavilion tree tops

    Pavilion in the tree tops

  • Moving soil 400 feet to garden

    Moving soil 400 feet to the garden

  • Moving dirt through empty patients room

    Through empty patient rooms

  • Through the children's garden

    Through the childrens garden

  • Up to the new garden

    Up to the new garden

  • Tile work to finish the raised beds

    Tile work to finish raised beds

  • Tile work in the garden

    Tile work in the garden

  • Green roof gardening shed

    Green roof garden shed

  • Water feature

    Water feature

  • April 14, 2014 dedication

    April 14 2014 Dedication

  • Annuals water wall

    Annuals water wall

  • Chess board seating

    Chess board seating

  • Looking over the Children's Garden

    Looking over the Childrens Garden

  • Overlook view

    Overlook view

  • Ramp


  • Seatin


  • Shakespeare plaque

    Shakespeare plaque

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  • Therapeutic gardens: research and innovation

    "We are extremely enthusiastic about receiving the funding that will provide the research infrastructure and expertise to support this important project."
    - P.Ashley Wackym, M.D.
    Former clinical vice president for Legacy Health.


Representatives from the local chapters of the March of Dimes and the American Heart Association, past patients, their family members and Legacy Emanuel clinical staff were involved with the planning of the garden and research studies. 

Following completion of the garden, three studies will investigate its impact:

  • The study of women giving birth will measure the extent to which garden enriched care lessens their discomfort, pain and stress, and thereby benefits the condition of their babies at birth.
  • The family study will identify personal benefits experienced by family members of cardiovascular intensive care unit patients. These family members will be invited into the therapeutic garden adjacent to the unit.
  • The nurse study will evaluate how spending designated time in the garden affects work stress management.

“The project is innovative and exciting. Benefits of the new hospital garden at Legacy Emanuel will be evaluated by scientific studies that generate important knowledge about the value of gardens and nature for patients, families and health care workers,” says Roger Ulrich, Ph.D., professor of architecture, Chalmers University in Sweden and principal investigator. “This will be the first time that benefits of a calming, beautiful garden are studied for hospital users in a serious in-depth way.” 

Dr. Ulrich will collaborate closely with Alar Mirka, M.D., director of clinical research at Legacy Research Institute on research design, development and evaluation. Jennifer Antick, Ph.D., professor of health psychology, Pacific University in Oregon, will lead graduate students in support of the family study. 

“We are extremely enthusiastic about receiving the funding that will provide the research infrastructure and expertise to support this important project," said P. Ashley Wackym, M.D., former clinical vice president of research for Legacy Health. “Measuring the outcomes of innovative and transformative care delivery is one key part of the mission of Legacy Research Institute." 

Funds for this project were provided by the TKF Foundation as part of the National Open Spaces Sacred Places Initiative. The mission of the TKF Foundation is to provide the opportunity for a deeper human experience by inspiring and supporting the creation of public green space that offers a temporary place of sanctuary, encourages reflection, provides solace, and engenders peace and well-being. 

“Patients, families, and staff in obstetrics and intensive care often face extremely stressful situations and unsettling outcomes. The opportunity to enter a quiet healing space can be very important to the well-being of each of these groups,” says Lori Morgan, M.D., Legacy Emanuel’s chief administrative officer. 

The new 6,800-square-foot therapeutic garden will feature:

  • Destination places to provide privacy for stress management, restoration and reflection
  • Perimeters created by arbors, a water wall and four seasons of specially selected garden plants
  • Wind sails and covered areas to protect from sun, rain and wind
  • A children’s activity area

Construction of the garden is planned to begin in June 2013 with completion six months later.