As a hospital or healthcare facility property manager, you have a lot of things to worry about on your site.

You want your location to be reassuring to patients and their visitors, promising speedy help and healing. You have to handle high traffic and visitors at all hours of the day and night. Security is essential, as well as managing all of the weather elements that can come your way in Northeast Ohio, ensuring safe passage for all workers and visitors. And you want to make everyone entering the naturally high-anxiety nature of your facility feel at ease, considering the high-stress, important jobs they have and health reasons they could be entering your establishment. 

Since your commercial landscape is the first thing your patients and visitors notice, its organization and tidiness can make a huge difference in your property’s safety, curb appeal, value, healing, and recruitment and retention efforts. 

In this guide, we’ll share some effective hospital landscaping ideas that you can use to ensure your Northeast Ohio health care facility can maximize its efforts to benefit from a safer, easier to navigate, and aesthetically pleasing property.

Table of Contents

The Importance of Hospital Landscaping
Understanding Hospital Landscaping Needs
Designing a Healing Landscape for Hospitals
Maintaining a Beautiful Hospital Landscape
Sustainability in Hospital Landscaping
Collaborating with Landscape Professionals

The Importance of Hospital Landscaping

Healthcare spaces can be scary. Hospitals are naturally stressful for not only patients and visitors, but workers like doctors and nurses as well.

And while the reputation of a healthcare facility is highly dependent on skilled staff, state-of-the-art equipment, and targeted treatments, its surrounding landscape is important, too. It can make everyone’s whole experience friendlier and more cheerful and welcoming. 

landscape professionals clean up landscape beds

In fact, the right scenery can reduce anxiety, boost positivity, and even impact health markers, such as lowering blood pressure. This is true for visitors, as well as patients inside who have the opportunity to look outdoors and see greenery. 

Let’s talk about the reasons high-quality hospital landscaping is so vital to your facility.

Reduce Stress For Healthcare Employees and Patients

Getting outdoors is one of the best ways to reduce anxiety. 

Times in nature have even been called antidotes for stress, lowering blood pressure and stress hormone levels, reducing nervous system issues, enhancing immune system function, boosting self-esteem, and improving mood. Another study showed being in nature reduced feelings of isolation and promoted calmness. 

Hospital landscaping can help bring the anxiety-reducing benefit of nature directly to healthcare staff and patients with flower gardens, waterfalls, trees and shrubs, and outdoor seating areas.

Create Healing Environments For Healthcare Patients

Some studies found people who spent two hours a week in green spaces, such as local parks and natural environments, whether it was all at once or spaced over several visits, were substantially more likely to report good health and psychological well-being than those who don’t. 

Nature is seen as a tonic for physical well-being, too. It helps to reduce blood pressure and stabilize heart rate. One study suggests that natural views help patients tolerate pain more, overcome adverse effects, and have shorter hospital stays. Nature also reduces inflammation and can prevent diseases by boosting immunity. 

Investing in hospital landscape design by bringing nature into courtyards, rooftop gardens, and other areas can boost this healing element at your facility.

Allow Doctors, Nurses, and Patients to Get Fresh Air

By creating hospital landscaping in Northeast Ohio, you can deliver a place for all hospital staff and visitors to go when they need to get some fresh air. 

aerial photo of hospital parking area

Options can include walking paths or circles that can accommodate both able-bodied patients, as well as those who have mobility restrictions. 

You can also create comfortable outdoor seating areas in courtyards or by using benches along landscaped pathways to deliver places for natural views, shade, and reflection.

Deliver The Best First Impression

Hospitals are sterile environments, which can feel cold and stark. 

By adding therapeutic landscaping for hospitals with greenery and beautiful blooms that are maintained regularly, you can soften the edges of a medical space, giving healthcare staff and patients an impactful first impression. 

This can make everyone feel more invited and want to regularly embrace your facility over others.

Enhance Safety On Your Hospital Property

Healthcare facilities are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, bustling with doctors, nurses, emergency staff, patients, and their families. 

As a result, your entryways and parking lots must be clean and have clear signage. Overgrown trees and shrubs can’t get in the way of outdoor lighting. You can’t have leaf litter, trash, or other debris cluttering walkways. Broken irrigation heads that leak water, causing puddles or even frozen water aren’t acceptable. 

landscape expert sprays near edge of grass

All of these elements are safety hazards, and they can strongly impair safe passage on your facility, elevating your liability risks. 

Professional hospital landscape maintenance can help you keep track of cracked concrete, damaged lighting or irrigation components, and leggy limbs or fallen branches to help protect security on your site.

Understanding Hospital Landscaping Needs

An unkempt, messy landscape is one that can reflect carelessness and unprofessionalism. 
But once you have your healthcare facility’s appearance squared away outside, it elevates everything about your property, showing your attention to detail and commitment to quality. 

But to do this right, the grounds maintenance provider you hire must understand hospital landscaping needs. 

A great partner will provide the right kind of landscaping for hospitals. Guiding you on the right plants for various areas on your property. For example, you wouldn’t put a new planting bed by a parking lot that gets hammered with salt in the winter because those plants won’t survive.

account manager and property manager inspect landscape

Also, the right color of plants and landscaping elements can impact how people feel, which is important at a medical facility. That’s why planting beds at a hospital will include more detailed designs that people can enjoy at closer distances.

Cleanup is also a critical part of healthcare facility maintenance. When so many people are coming and going on a property, they will inadvertently drop trash. This is in addition to regular natural debris that will develop from leaf drop or sticks and branches that result after storms.

A professional experienced with landscaping for medical campuses will know these standards and be able to suggest improvements to your property to maximize them.

Asking the right questions can help guide you in your search for the best commercial landscape management service provider for your hospital.

Designing a Healing Landscape for Hospitals

Now that we know the benefits of therapeutic landscaping for hospitals, it’s time to learn what the best healing gardens include and how they can be designed for maximum benefit. 

landscape experts place shrubs

There are some key elements to include to amplify therapeutic and healing spaces at your healthcare facility.

Go Green

Many times, hospitals are located in cities surrounded by concrete. That’s a lot of gray, hard surfaces. 

Your goal, therefore, is to bring nature in the form of the best plants to your hospital employees and patients. 

Use natural materials like trees, shrubs, flowers, ornamental grasses, rocks and boulders to find the right balance and create healing escapes. We recommend 70% plants and 30% hardscapes in the forms of walkways or other non-green elements.

Add Comfort and Spaces Everyone Can Use

Hospital patients come in all sizes and capabilities. Therefore, you must have hospital landscape design that incorporates areas that address this. 

What does this mean? It starts with shade. The sun can be hot and uncomfortable on those bright summer days, and there are medications that discourage unlimited sun exposure. So make sure to include trees and seating areas that offer this sun protection for those patients. 

landscape account manager tours property with manager

You might be located in a windy area of the city, so make sure to also include screening to not only soften breezes, but also create some privacy. This will help encourage patients and hospital workers to go outside because they can find a place of peace and tranquility. 

Include paths for walking, running, and rehabilitation. But when you have walkways for exercise, remember to incorporate places for rest. Seats with backs and arms can help patients who have a harder time sitting or rising from seated positions.

Also, remember to make paths easily navigable by wheelchairs, crutches, and other common healthcare tools. Use clearly marked signs to guide people to and from lobbies, corridors, nurse stations, and patient rooms.

Discourage smoking in these areas as well since that is not something patients want to be exposed to. They would rather smell the fresh flowers.

Enhance Sensory Experiences

Therapeutic landscaping for hospitals involves bringing sensory experiences to healthcare workers and patients. 

So consider all of the senses when designing these spaces. 

Start by locating your interactive garden in a space that isn’t near air-conditioning units, delivery areas, or emergency helicopter pads. Then, soften traffic noises with trees and shrubs. Add water features and ornamental grasses to bring in other, calming noises. 

flowers and plantings near hospital entrance

Visually, you want to focus on round, natural shapes versus those that are angular. Walking paths should mirror these types of curves and lead people along paths that make sense versus complex mazes or dead end pathways.   

Plant annuals and perennials that encourage butterflies and birds for visual and auditory sensual experiences. 

Regular, seasonal blooms bring pops of color, as well as amazing scents, to your space. 

Maintaining a Beautiful Hospital Landscape

You can create a hospital landscape that soothes stress and eases staff and patients’ anxieties, but for it to keep working for you, you must maintain it. 

This can feel like quite a bit is on your plate when you also have to keep indoor safety in check and ensure liability issues don’t crop up. 

Here are some essential grounds maintenance practices to keep on your list to ensure your hospital landscaping in Northeast Ohio remains top shelf.

Welcoming and Guiding Entryways Are Crucial

As patients or visitors enter your hospital or healthcare facility, they must never get confused as to where they are going. 

summa health signage with flowers

Your entryway should not only be attractive with appealing plants and blooms, but it must also be easy to navigate; nothing should block words or directional arrows. And because your facility operates at all hours, it should be well lit. 

People want to feel welcomed, as well as safe and secure, knowing exactly where they need to go when they come to a hospital environment.

Give Your Parking Lots Some Attention

Before patients and visitors come into your hospital landscape facility, they must park their cars. 

This means your parking lots must be tidy and safe with clear signage.

Trim shrubs and trees as necessary to prevent overgrowth and regularly clear leaf litter and debris.

Make sure there are no tripping or falling hazards so people can safely travel on your site and to reduce your liability concerns.

Regular Cleanup Is a Must

Because healthcare facilities have so many people on their grounds everyday -- from staff to patients to visitors -- they collect a lot of debris. Some of it is natural debris like twigs and sticks, while other debris may be trash and litter.

Commercial Landscaping Hospital Crew Bed Clean up Lily turf Liriope Boxwood Lawn Truck

While cleanup may seem like a simple task, keeping on top of it as a part of daily hospital landscaping best practices ensures safety by eliminating messiness and potential transportation issues. You must be able to accommodate wheelchairs, crutches, and other medical devices.

To do this, your commercial landscape service provider may provide you with a day porter from their staff to conduct these daily cleanup duties.

Neat, Meticulous Maintenance

Hospital landscaping can make people feel safer and more confident when they travel through your facility grounds. 

They are about to receive personal care inside after all. You don’t want them worried about the cleanliness of the healthcare interior or carelessness from the hospital staff. 

landscape maintenance team mows lawn at hospital

To do this requires regular maintenance with precise timing. 

This means well-mowed lawns, weed-free flower beds, pruned trees and shrubs. 

It also requires care that improves the health of plants on the site so they grow strong, such as lawn fertilization, proper watering and irrigation, pest management, and seasonal specific care.

Make Room For Enhancements and Seasonal Color

Hospital landscape design should include a smart approach to regular seasonal color, as well as a budget that has room to focus on enhancements when necessary to continue facility improvements. 

Adding native plants can draw birds and butterflies to your otherwise stale, concrete environment. Choosing species that bloom during different seasons can ensure color all year long. 

landscape expert carries mums

Making sure gardens can be seen from the inside is also helpful for patients to maximize their healing. It can even help keep staff going through their long shifts. 

A water feature enhancement can soften loud sounds and bring another stress-relieving element. 

All of these features require regular maintenance to keep up their many benefits.

Don’t Forget Snow and Ice Management

In Northeast Ohio, you have to prepare for weather extremes. 

front loader pushes snow

Slippery surfaces created by snow and ice are not welcome at hospital landscape environments since safe travels for emergency vehicles and patients are high priorities. They must feel safe when focusing on their job of taking care of people’s health. This means patient drop-off and pick-up areas, parking lots, and entryways must all be free from snow and ice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Invest in reliable snow and ice removal for your site to ensure your property is ahead of storms and has a plan in place for clearing dangerous snow and ice quickly at all hours of the day and night.

Sustainability in Hospital Landscaping

You want your healthcare facility to work for you in every way possible. And if your landscape can serve you in multiple ways, all the better. 

Sustainable landscaping for hospitals can do just that. Not only does it help you improve the local environment, but it can cut your overall maintenance costs. 

Here are some ideas you can try that follow sustainable initiatives and benefit from cost savings.

Wildflower or Native Gardens

Large expanses of turf can require quite a bit of regular upkeep during the growing season, such as mowing, fertilization, and irrigation.

If you have a large area of your hospital in the back, opting for a wildflower or native garden can require less maintenance than turf and bring a sustainability benefit of attracting pollinators like butterflies, bees, and birds.

These areas can also serve as great rest areas for healthcare workers or patients.


Saving or reusing water is also a form of sustainable landscaping for hospitals.


A bioswale can help you better manage stormwater, especially if you have standing water or drainage issues. This ditch or swale uses native plants and gravel to slow the water flowing off of parking lots or concrete pathways. The plants you choose are usually strong-rooted perennials and ornamental grasses. Bioswales also provide nice-looking additions to commercial sites.

Prairie Grasses

Native grasses are low-maintenance, conserve water, and fit Northeast Ohio’s weather conditions because they are well-adapted to the local environment. 

grasses near kent state sign

This makes them naturally sustainable choices for hospital landscaping. Incorporate these into your landscape for more sustainable color and texture.

Rooftop Gardens

If you have a smaller healthcare property in a city environment, you might lack the space to create gardens. 

Elevate your green space in a sustainable way with a rooftop garden. This can help create healing spaces for patients and healthcare workers, while also helping to cool the building and improve local air quality by adding oxygen through greenery.

Dormant Pruning

While pruning during the growing season is a regular maintenance task, dormant pruning of trees and shrubs can take place in the winter and be a great way to improve plant health. 

landscape expert prunes tree

Dormant pruning is the practice of making more aggressive cuts to trees and shrubs while they are dormant between December and March because it causes less damage to the plants, while reducing their size. This aids in tree health and eases maintenance, making it a healthy and sustainable practice for your hospital landscape.

Collaborating with Landscape Professionals

A well-maintained healthcare facility is incredibly important to ensuring patients can easily and safely get where they need to be on time. This keeps the doctors, nurses, and other healthcare staff efficient and focused, continuing to offer the best care.

A great commercial grounds maintenance partner that provides the right kind of landscaping for hospitals will guide you on the right plants for various areas on your site.

This level of trust and collaboration is crucial when you rely on a service partner to keep your medical practice humming 24 hours each day. 

These areas can be key to developing the best hospital landscaping partnership in Northeast Ohio.


Hospitals and medical facilities must maintain safety at all times.

This means managing areas that can be hazardous or cause liability issues – everything from drainage to overgrown plants to sidewalk cracks. 

pruning bushes at hospital

Not only is traffic high, requiring this attention to a clean and orderly landscape, but patients may range from young and athletic to older and more frail. 

Look for a company that can perform these tasks in a quality fashion, and then also clean off mower debris to keep each section of your site neat as they go. This is courteous to everyone on your site and a natural part of quality service.

Great Communication

You want to hire a commercial hospital landscaping professional who keeps you in the loop at all times. 

You want them to let you know when things are getting done and be open to you requesting they perform services during off-peak hours or at less busy times of the day. You also want them to be willing to attend meetings if you want them present and send you regular communication in the form you prefer to ensure you are up-to-date and can respond. 

This type of relationship helps build trust and reliability. 

You may even need an on-site groundkeeper to patrol your hospital on a daily basis and keep up with cleanup issues. That’s what Summa Health needed, and Turfscape delivered for them.

Value is Important

You should expect a certain level of value from your commercial hospital landscape service provider. 

This means fixing problems without having to be asked. This also means treating everyone on your property with kindness and respect. 

plantings and boulders near sign

While technical landscape skills and knowledge are important, so is a smile and pausing loud equipment when patients are walking by. 

At Summa Health, using rock beds and perennials over annuals were ways Turfscape helped the facility save money but also create an attractive landscape.

Find the Right Hospital Landscaping Partner For You

Maybe you have a lot on your plate and you don’t have time to micromanage a landscape company or worry about whether your facility is being neglected by the service provider you choose.

We understand. You’re busy and your time is valuable. Let Turfscape help. We can proactively share impactful ideas with you to improve safety on your site, increase aesthetics, and boost sustainability at your healthcare facility so you can continue to deliver for your patients in your community.

Turfscape would love to help you with your hospital landscaping needs and make your property management job easier. Give Turfscape a call today so we can be that landscape partner that helps you improve your facility’s safety, curb appeal, and busy demands. 

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Image Source: bioswale