Construction of The Garden of Healing and Renewal adjacent to the future McLaren Health Village Cancer Center in Clarkston, MI, was completed in 2008. The garden will be within walking distance of several other future medical buildings, including the new McLaren regional hospital.
"This provides patients with a place to contemplate and relax and get out into nature a little bit. It offers patients the freedom to choose different characters of space that they want to sit in," Richard Angell, director of Landscape Construction at B&L Landscaping, Inc., of Oak Park, MI, said. B&L Landscaping, Inc. was the landscaping contractor for the project.
"There is an approximately half-mile walking trail that goes through an existing, very mature oak forest, and there are a variety of places to sit for social gatherings and support groups. This is a 4-acre site consisting of wooded upland forested areas and wetlands. So, we have a very nice environment," Angell said.
"We've done many high-end things to protect the vegetation that is adjacent to the cancer center. We learned long ago that quality landscaping can improve the environment."
There were several different types of materials used for the walkways, including brick, exposed aggregate concrete and different types of pavers.
Materials on the project included over 600 yards of specialized plant mix; over 2,000 different types of perennials; approximately 124 large evergreen trees; 40 large ornamental trees; and approximately 500 different types of shrubs.
"Because it was such a tight site, we used a mini-excavator. We had a sand material, so we used two track skid-steer loaders to move a lot of materials in," Angell said. He said that another reason for using smaller equipment was so that there wouldn't be a lot of compaction.
"When we get into finished projects, one of the biggest things that we end up dealing with is compacted soils. We don't get the compaction when we use the smaller track vehicles. What we deal with in the soil structure gets very scientific. When the soil structures break down and the cells of that soil break down, that changes what that soil is supposed to do," Angell said.
"When we brought in all of the premium plant mix soil, we wanted to make sure that we didn't end up with compaction. So, using the smaller, rubberized track vehicle lends itself to that. You couldn't put large equipment on this site."