Design for Special Populations – New York Botanical Garden Final Project Design


 Breast Wellness and Retreat Center      -      Concept and Program Development 

D. Soszynski


The Center will be especially created for  Breast Cancer patients. Horticultural Therapy objectives will be included in all outdoor areas. The designed spaces will address the pillars of HT – Physical, Affective, Social, as well as, Cognitive. In other words - Bodyfulness, Heartfulness, Openness, Mindfulness.  


The Center will provide a safe and supportive atmosphere to help women throughout their treatment. Proposed concepts will include the need for wheelchair access, covered areas for shade and protection from winds and other elements, easy walking paths and access to all outdoor areas. The courtyard will have covered areas for seating and activities.   Small "re-creations" of things in the outer garden such a raised beds, planter boxes with herbs and a water element will be included in the courtyard, for those who cannot or do not want to leave the courtyard area. A major focus will be the use nature to bring about a sense of normality and a restored sense of self. 


Proposed areas/elements/plants: 

Weeping Cherry tree - in the center island along with seasonal bulbs. Important to include early "bloomers" that create that amazing sense of renewal with spring bulbs like crocus and daffodils.  

--Tea House/Greenhouse - "The Green Tea House"  This is a multi-use small building 15X20. It can be used for small gatherings and for greenhouse plants/hanging basket garden. Creating a hanging basket is a project that help increase reach and strength after surgery. Physical and Social aspect of HT.


  • Spirit Stone Stream – a babbling brook that flows into a small pond. Purpose is for patients to write on a stone a inspiring word and place in the stream. Affective aspect of HT 

  • Edible Garden – raised bed for vegetables. Beds will be wheelchair accessible. Physical & Restorative Aspect of HT- 

  • Mindful or Meditation Meadow – Native plants and flowers area.  

  • Zen Herbal Garden – Herbs are grown and harvested in the Tea House – Sensory aspect of HT 

  • Birdland – Multiple birdhouses. Auditory aspect of HT 

  • Outdoor covered activity area – A more open area but covered for those patient who want to be outside but sheltered. Social aspect of HT 

  • Ramp and deck extended towards the beach/lake. - A safe way to get closer to the water and beach. Restorative aspect of HT.  

  • Outdoor garden salon – safe and supportive area for the ceremony of hair cutting, shaving, wig support. Affective aspect of HT 

  • Playground – for those patient's who have children. 

  • Small private area for families to meet.  

  • Courtyard features – table and chairs with umbrellas, raised beds, living wall, large planter Social & Physical aspect of HT 

  • Staff area – small respite area for staff 

  • Open area – use for yoga, meditation, picnicking Physical/affective/social aspects of HT 





  • Trees ex. arborvitae for privacy 

  • Shrubs 

  • Bulbs 

  • Bamboo 

  • Ferns/Moss 

  • Wild native plants and flowers 

  • Vegetables 

  • Herbs 

  • Grasses 

  • Hostas 

  • Other elements: 

  • Paved walkways 

  • Trellis in vegetable garden 

  • Ramps as needed 

  • Umbrellas 

  • Lighting on paths and evening lighting on courtyard 

  • Stream with pond 

  • Playground equipment 









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