Garden design and planning in sheltered housing accommodation for older people

Edward O'Meara, Tania Wiseman

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Within the context of an aging population, sheltered housing providesa safe and sociable environment. The facilities offer communal living, supported independence and choice to participate in activities. Existing studies have shown that gardens can offer older people physiological, psychological and social benefits (Alves and Sugiyama 2006). Yet there is limited research into how the design of gardens in sheltered housing developments is considered. Methods Ethical approval for this study was obtained from the University of Brighton's School Research Ethics and Governance Panel. A qualitative approach was used to help investigate and understand the planning process using an interpretivist epistemology and a constructivist ontology. Results Three semi-structured interviews were then conducted with the managers of sheltered housing developments. The five key themes of the findings were: considerations when planning a garden how residents use the gardens well-being identity and social interaction the managers' involvement Seven sub-themes were also found: variety of plants the elements accessibility space gardeners and contractors security finances Conclusions The findings discuss the individual needs and choices of residents, as well as exploring the role managers can play in providing opportunities for residents to utilise their gardens However, they also reveal potential barriers to planning a garden. Participation in the research enabled the housing managers to reflect on how they enhance the gardens for their residents. The findings inform occupational therapists involved in planning o safe, therapeutic outside environments. Alves S, Sugiyama T (2006) Literature review on the benefits of access to outdoor environments for older people, Available at
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2012
EventCollege of Occupational Therapists Annual Conference 2012 - SEEC Glasgow, Scotland, 12-14 June 2012
Duration: 12 Jun 2012 → …


ConferenceCollege of Occupational Therapists Annual Conference 2012
Period12/06/12 → …


  • Gardening
  • sheltered housing
  • housing management
  • gardens
  • garden design
  • later life
  • elderly
  • older
  • occupational therapy


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