UM Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute's Healing Garden:

picture of the Healing Garden

The Healing Garden at UM Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute provides a unique environment for patients, families, staff and visitors. It has been designed as a therapeutic tool for teaching our patients how to deal with physical challenges as they transition into the community, and renew interest in the leisure activity of gardening.

This unique therapy opportunity enhances patients' cognitive and physical skills for maneuvering around their home and community environment once they leave the hospital. It offers visitors and families space to relax in a beautiful, quiet, natural setting. Employees can explore personal needs for relaxation or revitalization in a quiet, contemplative setting.

Studies have shown links between patients' physical environments and their ability to manage pain and heal. Utilizing this harmonious balance between body and mind, the garden stimulates one's visual, auditory and olfactory senses through the choice of plants, sound and color.

Various ground patterns and textures were incorporated to challenge patients' mobility skills and prepare them for their return to the community. The garden works in tandem with western medicine, imbuing it with beauty, serenity and a more holistic approach.

Adaptive Gardening

Designing a therapeutic/adaptive garden takes careful planning. Considerations include:

  • Sitting areas
  • Kneeling benches
  • Container gardens
  • Raised beds
  • Water features
  • Wind chimes
  • Bird houses

Creating and maintaining a garden requires the nurturing hands of a gardener along with some essential gardening tools. There are several ways to modify tools for gardeners of differing abilities. Tool modifications may include:

  • Wrist supports
  • Light weight design
  • Longer arms for reaching
  • Ergonomically designed handles

Benefits of Gardening

UM Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute's Healing Garden stimulates the whole person:


  • Mobility
  • Endurance
  • Muscle tone
  • Coordination
  • Gross/Fine motor skills


  • Memory
  • Attention
  • Concentration
  • Sequencing of tasks
  • Name and color identification


  • Group Activity
  • Social interaction
  • Alleviation of depression
  • Feeling of accomplishment
  • Self-esteem
  • Motivation