In honor of National Landscape Architecture Month, I thought it would be a fitting tribute to highlight five of my favorite landscape design stories from the HEALTHCARE DESIGN archives. The notion of the "healing environment" really starts outside of the facility, and these stories perfectly illustrate all of the aspects of that notion in my mind. Simply click on the titles below to be taken to the stories.

1. "Design With Nature" by Jerry Smith, FASLA, EDAC, LEED AP

This story dates back to 2006, but it does a great job of laying out the importance of the outdoor environment in healthcare settings. Based on a presentation at HEALTHCARE DESIGN.06 in Chicago by Smith and colleagues, this is about as good a primer as there is out there.

2. "Early Collaboration Key to Hospital and Landscape Design" by Julie D. Taylor, Hon. AIA/LA

From tree-shaded parking lots, to the greenscaped entrance, to a rooftop garden-dining terrace, Kaiser Permanente Panorama City Medical Center is rife with innovative landscaping, despite a tight urban footprint, and the often challenging climate of Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley. This article tells the story of the team that made it happen.

3. "Putting the Health Back in Healthcare Settings" by Lydia Stone Kimball, ASLA, LEED AP BD&C

A timely reminder that the outdoors are key to health in general, not just healthcare settings.

4. "Urban Oasis" by Todd Hutlock, Editor-in-Chief

Okay, it might be a tad ungraceful to select one of my own articles, but this project really touched my heart. Kenndey Krieger Institute's therapy garden takes up most of a Baltimore city block, improving the lives of children and adolescents with disorders of the brain, spinal cord, and musculoskeletal system.

5. "Better Than a Pain Pill" by Shannon Mitchell, RLA

An a-to-z guide to planning a healthcare facility healing garden. As the article says, don't be fooled into thinking this is a mere fad.