Project Category - New Construction (completed May 2000)

Facility Contact - Phyllis Mabbett, Administrative Director, (858) 554-3345

Firms - Aesthetics, Inc., (619) 683-7500, in collaboration with Schmidt Design Group, Inc.

Design Team - Annette Ridenour, Principal Project Lead; Diana Polkinghorne, Garden Designer (Aesthetics, Inc.); Glen Schmidt, Lead Project Landscape Architect; Scott Hazard, Project Landscape Architect (Schmidt Design Group, Inc.)

Patient/Bed Capacity - N/A

Total Building Area (sq. ft.) - N/A

Total Land Area - 5,040 sq. ft.

Total Cost (excluding land) - $150,000


In 1999, the collaborative design team of Aesthetics and the Schmidt Design Group of San Diego was the creative force behind the transformation of an underused and uninspiring outdoor concrete court into a tranquil and contemplative healing environment for Scripps Memorial Hospital's drug and alcohol treatment center. The client had meager funding to start, and the design team had to develop a creative concept that would inspire the necessary fundraising of $150,000 for project completion.

Working closely with staff and past program graduates, the design team created a garden experience based on the Alcoholics Anonymous Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. Each of the 12 Steps is engraved into a stone embedded in paving and is represented with architectural features, such as fountains, seating areas and commissioned artwork. The sequential experience allows users a number of unique opportunities to sit alone in contemplation or within small groups. A labyrinth at the courtyard's center is used for larger gatherings and graduation ceremonies. The landscape plant palette adds to the environment with lush, colorful plantings, rich textures and seasonal fragrances.

Hospital staff currently uses the garden as an important tool in its curriculum, reflecting the success of this innovative collaboration among designers, patients, program graduates, community artists and hospital staff.