Making gardens dementia friendly at Bupa Hugh Green

We’ve planted a seed of thought on what it means to be dementia-friendly through the creation of a new garden at Bupa's Hugh Green site in Auckland, New Zealand.

The Bupa Hugh Green Shannon Garden is designed specifically for people with dementia and a first for Bupa New Zealand.

The garden’s Development Manager Peter Kerrigan, who helped set the brief, says this garden differs to other outdoor spaces built in the past.

“We tried to use forms that were unusual and fun. This is a new and different idea and with dementia some things unfortunately can be trial and error because everyone is different”.

The space has been designed to evoke curiosity, inspiration and calmness. Residents and their families have embraced the area.

It's an exceptional garden, not only for the residents but also for their visitors to walk around. It’s a great place to sit and enjoy.
Frank Lockey, husband of resident

Beth McDougall the Dementia Care Advisor for Bupa New Zealand provided her views for this project and helped set the brief for the designers, Luijten Landscaping .

“My inspiration for this garden came from the brief. Beth pointed out several important things for it,” says Robert from Luijten Landscaping, who helped make the Hugh Green Shannon Garden project come to life.

“Keeping it open, as in no dead ends, hence we have the eight shape meandering path that invites you to keep exploring. Interest in the area was created with large pots and planters of different heights, textures and colours grouped together. Oh, and no hills – keep everything at one level, was the plan,” he says.

“So the path and patio areas had to be level so it wouldn’t create a trip hazard for the residents.”

Making it accessible all hours is another feature that makes this garden unique.

It's lit at night and accessible for residents who want to enjoy the garden on a warm evening.

We had to think about people living with dementia and their needs. We had to create a garden which would be a special space for them.
Robert Luijten, Luijten Landscaping

The height of plants was also taken into account during planning to assist residents who may find it difficult to bend down when admiring aspects of the garden.

The Hugh Green garden is an example of how non-matching items can be arranged to create a sense of balance and style.

"My team loved the challenge of creating a special space which draws people in to come and explore, feel at ease, relax and spend time together,” says Robert Luijten.

“At Hugh Green we set out to do something spectacular and I’m happy with the result.”

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