Rooftop Healing Garden

The Healing Garden was challenged from the very beginning with such issues as timing, access, materials, and installations.  As an overview, the project was awarded in May for 750,000 and had a completion deadline of July 3rd, consisting of 45 days of duration.  Therefore, the stone for the patio and pathways was placed in a container to be shipped the next day from China, while the trees were tagged in one day, and soil mix was engineered, designed, sampled, tested, and approved in five days.  Upon starting the project, access became a challenging issue.  All materials for the site were transported either through a double door or over the existing hospital with the usage of a crane.  While these items were challenging for the production team, the greatest challenge was the layout, cutting, and staking of the foam board base to exact specifications.  The 300,000 board feet of foam, was installed in 2” lifts to establish a lightweight working surface on which all concrete was poured upon.  In order to achieve the exact layout, the production team used GPS guided survey equipment to establish corner and center line references across the entire site.  Once all foam board was installed, free floating concrete forms were used to pour all concrete walkways and paver bases.  Next came the task of placing all sandstone pavers, bluestone pavers, and the 1,200 tons of soil mix on the roof.  As access was a challenge, all pavers were craned over the existing hospital and the soils were installed via a blower truck. The blower truck placed soil mixes throughout the garden in depths up to 4 feet.  The final challenge was craning large caliper trees from the loading dock over the entire hospital and onto the green roof all within one Saturday as to not disrupt the activities of a busy hospital.  While we were challenged with many logistical problems, we successfully completed this unique green roof on time and on budget.


Creating an intimate sanctuary for cancer survivor patients and their families was the initial concept of this project.  What was conceived was a 14,770 SF garden of peace, hope, and love.  The Healing Garden, as it is called, was built atop of the Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air.  From the beginning, the green roof was designed to be an interactive space for patients through the usage of five separate doors leading to the various walking paths and seating areas within.  This unusual garden provides survivors with the sounds of water, the smell of fresh flowers, and the feel of shade under many of the gardens large caliper trees.  This peaceful refuge also features six quiet nook bluestone patio areas surrounded by colorful plant selections and water features that evoke a sense of tranquility and meditation.   While the Healing Garden serves to help patients, it also serves to help nature as a Storm Water Management Facility for the Cancer Center and the Hospital.  This is accomplished through the collection of water from the surrounding impervious roof structures.  As rain water is channeled through down spouts to the Healing Garden, the green roof and its plants filter and absorb the water to effectively and efficiently minimize runoff.