Gardens of Arcare
Project completed by Landscaping by Design in 2018.
Arcare in Oatlands is a 5 star aged-care facility with 110 private rooms, including permanent and dementia specific accommodations. In considering the health and well-being of residents, Arcare proudly boasts beautifully landscaped surrounds. Gardens of Arcare are a feature of this superb, high quality premises.
Landscaping by Design were contracted to create colourful and homely gardens for the entire facility, and undertook the maintenance work for a full 12 months after construction.
Michael Ryan, Director B.La, Landscaping by Design, explains the project. “We were contracted to undertake all soft work, site preparation, soil, sub-grade drainage, installation, turfing, irrigation, planting and mulching. The building itself is huge, and as the courtyards were already built, the soil had to be manually manoeuvred around the site. This required a fair bit of machinery and manpower with other trades finishing all at the same time. The storm water system around the perimeter of the site also needed to be increased and re-engineered.”
Plants that cool
Planting design choices needed to consider the scale of the imposing building. “We used trees that grow large, chosen to cool exposed spaces”, says Michael. “Plants that would adapt to the heat were used, with courtyard trees like Crepe Myrtles, and native plants around the perimeters such as Eucalyptus. This helped get a canopy back, soften the building and provide shade.”
Planting design was a considered approach with colourful and interpretative intentions. “The gardens are part of the reason you would buy this place” asserts Michael Ryan.
The plant palate used a wider variety than usual and avoided repetition, creating an interesting mix. “This is not your typical plant palate,” he says. “In aged care, people have come from their own gardens, so the intention is to make the gardens feel homely. We used similar plants that you would see in regular gardens, such as Bougainvilleas, Camellias and Gardenias as well as what you would see in perimeter hedging. We then tried general colours through plants such as Lasalvia, and through feature trees like Frangipani to create interest and more colour.”
The gardens have been designed for therapeutic benefits. “When the residents no longer have the energy to maintain a garden of their own”, explains Michael Ryan, “they can still reap the rewards of the gardens themselves. For example, residents might have had Hydrangeas outside their own gardens. This is then brought into the decisions of what to plant outside their windows in the facility.”
Jackie Goss, Residence Manager at Arcare Oatlands explains that a neighbourly feeling was also included in the planting choices by incorporating what is already in the street. The landscaping then matched the colours of the street planting in the textural gardens.
Rachel Aquilina, Community Marketing Officer, Arcare explains that the garden design in the courtyards stimulate residents and offer sensory experiences, encouraging residents to touch the plants. Jackie Goss adds, “Residents living with dementia can find something in the gardens they can relate to, or remind them of something. We see people relate to the flowers and this is very important, as the association can illicit something from childhood… You can see it on their faces.”
“We planted deciduous trees for the purpose of recognising the changing seasons” he adds. “When flowering, dementia residents know that it’s Spring.”
Working with Alpine
Michael Ryan describes this as a challenging project with very specific plants. “Sales Executive, Sharon Overton was fantastic. Sharon kept working away sourcing plants and finding the best substitutions and working well with the landscape architects.”
“Alpine was recommended for this job. The builders, ourselves, and landscape architects have all used Alpine and we knew it was a good fit, that Alpine Nurseries would be able to source what we needed. We always expect a high quality of plants from Alpine.”
Landscape Architect: David Louden
Landscape Contractor on Site: Landscaping by Design
Site Manager: Arcare
Building and Owner: Knowles Group
Plants: Alpine Nurseries
Photography: Kylie Dunlop Photography