October 12, 2023
SINGAPORE – People living in the northern part of Singapore can now enjoy their own green wellness spaces.
Two therapeutic gardens opened in the north on Wednesday, in Yishun Pond Park and Sembawang Park, each with unique features designed to meet the needs of different users, including seniors, outpatients and children with special needs.
A third such garden opened in the east, in Sun Plaza Park in Tampines, bringing the total number of therapeutic gardens in Singapore to 13.
The 1,900 sq m garden at Yishun Pond Park, located next to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH), has features such as a wheelchair-accessible exercise bridge, therapy stairs and a three-generational fitness corner.
It offers therapeutic horticulture and rehabilitative activities, suitable for both general visitors and outpatients.
The National Parks Board (NParks) consulted the hospital before building the garden.
KTPH rehabilitation services senior physiotherapist Muhammad Jazimin Haron said: “Our hospital believes strongly in keeping our patients and population in the north healthy in the community, and empowering them to become active participants of their own well-being. We see this therapeutic garden as a natural extension of our hospital space, designed to help our patients recover in a soothing community environment.”
KTPH occupational therapist Teo Ai Lin said it was a learning opportunity for the hospital’s staff.
“While we envisioned a garden that was inviting, calming and could incorporate rehabilitation exercises, we also learnt from the NParks team about other aspects of garden design, such as consideration of plant species that can evoke memories of the past and engage the senses,” she said.
“This knowledge is helpful to us for future practice when conducting sensory engagement with patients.”
The therapeutic garden in Sembawang Park is bigger, at 2,200 sq m. It is the second-largest in Singapore, after the one in Jurong Lake Gardens, which is 3,100 sq m.
The garden in Sembawang Park comprises an active zone and a passive zone for different needs and activities, and has curated features for children with special needs such as mild autism, and seniors with dementia.
These include a forest classroom, a playscape with elements including boulders, tepees, log clusters and wooden balancing beams, and an inclusive outdoor fitness corner.
The two therapeutic gardens in the north are supported by contributions from the Tote Board.
The new therapeutic garden in Sun Plaza Park in Tampines is 1,700 sq m. It has a small stream and a series of nooks connected by meandering paths, with dense and diverse plants that attract biodiversity, as well as fragrant plants.
Announcing the opening of the three new therapeutic gardens in a Facebook post, Second Minister for Finance and National Development Indranee Rajah said their different terrains, rich biodiversity, specially selected plants and design features will enhance mental health and well-being.
The first therapeutic garden here was set up at HortPark in October 2015, and launched in 2016. Its popularity led NParks to develop more such gardens with different features to meet the wellness and recreational needs of different communities in Singapore.