Project information

Horatio's Garden Scotland

To create a beautiful Horatio's Garden, Scotland at the Queen Elizabeth Spinal Injuries Unit for patients their friends and family, out-patients and staff from all over Scotland. The garden will become the heart of the spinal unit and transform the space for patients who spend months in hospital.

March 2016 - October 2016

Charity information: Horatio's Garden

Horatio's Garden logo
  • Need


    The average length of stay for patients is 5 months and patients are often a long way from home. The spinal unit is in the centre of a large hospital site and bounded by a very busy road. There is little beauty or nature for patients to enjoy and little privacy. What outside space there is, is under utilised and devoid of planting or design. Studies show that having access and looking at a garden is beneficial in many ways for patients - improving mood and decreasing length of stay.


    The project will create a stunning courtyard garden in the heart of the spinal unit giving an oasis of calm for patients. Patients will be able to go in the fully accessible space in their hospital beds and wheelchairs to experience the escapism that a garden provides. Being outside can be life affirming and provide hope at a time of devastation.The charity's head gardener and volunteer team who will also become a welcoming support group for patients using the garden.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Patients, their friends and family in the spinal unit will have access to a beautiful garden.


    » Design, build and maintain an unbelievably beautiful garden including a greenhouse, childrens' play area and physiotherapy space.

    What success will look like

    Assessment of annual visitor number targets and activity outcomes

    Aim 2

    Patients will be enjoying events and activities in the garden run by the charity.


    » Garden therapy will be run with the rehabilitation team.
    » Artist in residence will engage with patients using the garden
    » Live music events for patients and their families to share
    » Volunteers will make tea and cakes for patients to enjoy in the garden

    What success will look like

    Self-evaluation, qualitative and quantitative assessment through survey of patients leaving the ward, informal comment cards and an online community.

    Aim 3

    Staff will use the garden to conduct therapeutic interventions and in their breaks to relax.


    » The design will include glass rooms with living roofs for patients to escape the rain but still be in the garden. These can also be used for privacy.

    What success will look like

    Evaluation of impact of therapeutic gardens on wellbeing through research and NHS audit.

  • Impact


    Improving the physical, mental and social wellbeing of people with spinal cord injury. This will be audited by an annual survey of patients, friends, relatives and staff who use the garden in addition to all the research tools mentioned above.


    The main risk is if the NHS hospital were to relocate or close the spinal unit. This is addressed before any project is commenced with a legal agreement between the charity and the NHS Trust whereby a license to occupy the space which will become Horatio's Garden is agreed. The trustees have a risk register and discuss and review the risks to the charity regularly always actively looking to ways to mitigate the risk and protect the charity's best interests.


    We strive for excellent communication with donors. Donors receives a thank you letter and major donors are always invited to visit the project. Donors can receive email updates from time to time and also use social media or website to follow the charity's progress. Annual report is posted online.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £397,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £30,000 Design+ project management Garden designer and garden project specialist liaising with NHS
      £42,000 furniture and lighting benches, tables and garden lighting for the winter
      £55,000 Glass rooms, greenhouse for patients to use the garden even when its raining and for garden therapy
      £160,000 hard landscaping specialist wheelchair friendly paths, accessible doors
      £20,000 childrens' play equipment for patients' children
      £40,000 plants, trees, pond planting for garden
      £50,000 maintenance 2 years endowment for head gardener and events coordinator

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Trusts and Foundations and donations £211,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Horatio’s Garden Scotland will be located at the Queen Elizabeth National Spinal Injuries Unit, South Glasgow University Hospital, Govan Glasgow. This is an inner city location bounded by a busy road with little natural beauty. Patients spend months in the unit and often come from rural areas of Scotland. The volunteering scheme will give the chance for people living close to the unit who may not have access to a garden an opportunity which may also enhance their fitness and emotional wellbeing.


    Primarily patients from all over Scotland who have been paralysed but also their friends, family and the staff who work in the spinal unit. The volunteers can benefit by becoming part of a new and energetic team.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Horatio's Garden has a tracked record of already developing a garden project which is very successful at the Salisbury spinal unit. The trustees have a detailed knowledge of the NHS, spinal injury and patient wellbeing and are skilled in delivering this tranformative project. They are highly motivated and hard working and determined to deliver the vision. There is currently no other charity working in this sector of gardens for spinal rehabilitation.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Dr Olivia Chapple MB BS MRCGP

    Chair of Trustees, executive trustee, full time volunteer and founder. Trained as a GP, now volunteers full time for the charity. Mother of Horatio.

    Victoria Holton

    Treasurer and executive trustee, full time volunteer for the charity. Victoria lives with a spinal injury following a sky diving accident 13 years ago

    David Chapple FRCS

    Trustee and co-founder. Spinal surgeon for the Duke of Cornwall Spinal Injury Centre.

    James Alexander-Sinclair

    Garden Designer and designer of Horatio's Garden Scotland. James is a member of the Council of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and RHS judge.