Benetas – Aged Care Facility
Gladswood Lodge – Brunswick West, Victoria
The Design task
To overhaul the external garden areas including courtyards and all external areas. To get rid of old walking paths, to make a place for families and residents to enjoy.
Matthew O’Grady Landscape Design set to work to design and transform the areas. Management, staff and residents were all consulted on all their needs and wishes were incorporated into the design. Survey work was then undertaken and plans drawn up. A planting, water feature and paving schedule was developed for each resident to give them ownership of their own patch of turf.
After all parties agreed on the plans construction began. The entire project was managed by Matthew O’Grady.
Now Benetas Gladswood Lodge features courtyards, a sensory garden and additional areas and seating for children.
Unused space is now home to a thriving vegetable garden where residents and volunteers grow produce that goes on their dinner table. Residents were involved in the plant selection and location and some residents have even adopted spaces as their own and happily tend ‘their plot’. Garden beds of different heights are planted with meaningful colour combinations. A small patch of turf allows residents (under staff supervision) to sit and feel the grass beneath their feet.
Residents love their ongoing involvement in the maintenance of their garden which empowers them by giving them a meaningful purpose and great sense of worth. The positive effects on residents, their families and staff have been extraordinary.
The sensory garden has great therapeutic value, greatly contributing to residents’ emotional and physical health. It lifts their spirit, gets them back in touch with nature and gives them sensory pleasure. They become more active and feel less restrained. The garden encourages them to socialise more. Being outdoors they can enjoy safe sun exposure for vitamin D which can help reduce the risk of bone fractures.
The results are wonderful and Matthew is very pleased. He’s even more chuffed when he goes back to Benetas Gladswood Lodge and the residents he worked with on the garden remember him and show him how the garden has thrived. They created their own ‘living library’.