30 Years of Senior Living Design with Garden Spot Village
Over the past 30 years, RGS has helped shape the landscape across Central and Southeastern Pennsylvania. In particular, we’ve had the honor of shaping senior living spaces – everything from residences to community spaces to gardens.
Senior living design is where the RGS story first began thanks to the trust and collaboration of our first client and long-standing partner, Garden Spot Village.
This month, we continue our 30th Anniversary celebration with a look back at the relationship that started it all.
Garden Spot Village: a Relationship Spanning 30 Years
Garden Spot Village is a 220-acre active lifestyle retirement community in New Holland, Pennsylvania.
Over the past three decades, Garden Spot and RGS have worked together through 10 community expansions and over 40 projects. It’s a partnership built on creative collaboration, understanding of each other’s values, and exemplary service.
It all began in 1990 when Garden Spot formed a non-profit and began searching for land to build a new retirement community. That’s where RGS came in.
“It was a challenging project,” said RGS founder, Dick Stauffer. “We built everything, including the sewer system, electrical, gas, and stormwater management.”
The sewer system built by Garden Spot Village was ultimately taken over by the neighboring township; a great benefit to the New Holland community. And it allowed Garden Spot to open its doors and successfully serve its senior community for years.
Integration of Therapeutic Landscape Design
One of RGS’ many contributions to Garden Spot was its integration of therapeutic landscape design to create spaces that were not only aesthetically beautiful but emotionally and spiritually healing for aging seniors.
“Nature has a profound effect on our mental and emotional health,” said Joe Lutz, registered landscape architect at RGS. “For a senior who’s fighting illness, challenged by mobility issues, or who has just lost a spouse or loved one, outdoor spaces can boost mood and have measurable health benefits.”
For seniors suffering from memory loss or dementia, therapeutic gardens are one tool senior living facilities can use to trigger memories and create a sense of calm.
“When we design a therapeutic garden, we may plant flowers that were common when today’s seniors were children or young adults to trigger joyful memories of the past,” Joe explained. “We’ll also incorporate places to sit and connect with others along walking paths to facilitate conversation and connection.”
Garden Spot’s therapeutic gardens not only contribute to the emotional well-being of its seniors but also foster community building.
“The outdoor spaces RGS created for us give our seniors an excuse to come out and be together,” says Garden Spot CEO, Steve Lindsey. “Our residents use them as places to sit and connect. It’s helped Garden Spot create a stronger sense of community.”
A Fresh Approach to Senior Living Design: Sycamore Springs & Meadow View Memory Care at Garden Spot
RGS and Garden Spot’s most recent collaboration, the Sycamore Springs community and Meadow View Memory Care Facility showcases therapeutic landscape design and incorporates a new approach to senior living.
Sycamore Springs is modeled after the “pocket neighborhood,” a senior living community concept focused on creating community and intentional neighborhoods. The concept originated in the Northwest of the country. So, RGS principal Mark Hackenburg traveled to Seattle to learn more about the style first-hand.
“Other designers may have taken the time to learn about the design concept, but Mark and his team hopped on a plane and flew across the country to see these communities firsthand,” said Steve. “They were then able to translate the concept to best fit Garden Spot. It’s just another example of them going above and beyond.”
Termed a dementia-care neighborhood, the Meadow View community is located on 8 acres and includes both independent living apartments and memory support suites. To design Meadow View, RGS took the Garden Spot leadership team and clinical care staff through an intensive design exercise. The day-long workshop allowed Garden Spot’s team to express their interests, expectations, and desires for Meadow View, helping to define the design’s foundation. RGS’ landscape architects then interpreted those needs into tangible design concepts that led to the design foundation for the Memory Care Courtyard at Meadow View.
“The goal of Meadow View was to create a multi-sensory experience that engaged, soothed, and enhanced the lives of those with dementia,” said Steve.” RGS helped us make that a reality.”
A Relationship Built on Stewardship, Innovation, and Collaboration
When asked which of RGS’ values stands out, Steve emphasizes, “RGS’ commitment to stewardship, innovation, and a commitment to finding new and better ways to team up with Garden Spot. They will always be trusted advisors as we consider future expansions and projects.”
Thank you to our team, clients, and partners for helping to celebrate 30 Years of RGS.
To learn more about RGS and how we support organizations, like Garden Spot, with services ranging from creative site design and entitlement services to design, permitting, construction, and post-construction services, contact the RGS team. We look forward to connecting with you.