Volunteer members of the Decorative Concrete Council (DCC), St. Louis, MO, traveled to Hanson, KY May 13-16 to work on the hardscape of what is to become a therapeutic garden at the Ballard Western Kentucky Veterans Center. Three students from the Concrete Industry Management (CIM) program at Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN, assisted on the project.

The idea to convert an under-utilized outdoor space at the Center into a therapeutic garden came from Sandy Henderson, Greenville, SC, whose father was a resident at the home. “My father really enjoyed spending time in the outdoor space,” says Henderson. “However, many of the residents did not use the space because of the strong glare off of the concrete paving.” Henderson’s search for a solution led her to the DCC.

The answer was to stain the existing concrete a darker color. The final project included cleaning and staining approximately 5,000 SF of existing concrete, sawcutting and staining a compass rose emblem depicting military and patriotic icons, and sawcutting and staining a large checkerboard.

The space will receive additional landscaping and activity areas to convert it into a therapeutic garden.

The project was managed by Todd Scharich, decorative concrete specialist for the American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC). The DCC is a specialty council of the ASCC. Planning and project coordination was spearheaded by Chris Klemaske, T.B. Penick & Sons, San Diego, DCC council director; and Jim Mullins, Butterfield Color, Indianapolis, and Paul Schneider, Patterned Concrete of Cincinnati, DCC directors. Other on-site volunteers were Andy Espinoza, T.B. Penick & Sons; Russell Mackenzie, Belarde Co., Woodinville, WA; Neil Roach, Creative Construction by Design, Danville, IL; and Wyatt Brandt, Ryan Jessie and Mary Michael Jett, all of Middle Tennessee State University.

Companies supplying tools and / or materials were Butterfield Color, Aurora, IL; Euclid Chemical Co., Cleveland; Decorative Concrete Resources, Saginaw, MI; Patterned Concrete of Cincinnati; and Surface Gel Tek, Phoenix. Design services were provided by Zone 7 Landscaping, Seneca, SC.

According to Dr. Steve Mitrione, M.D., MLA, St. Paul, MN, there is well-documented evidence that gardens can facilitate recovery from illness and improve the health of those who come in contact with them. “The proposed Western Kentucky Veterans Center Therapeutic Garden is an exemplary design of a therapeutic garden, incorporating the best available evidence in its design,” says Mitrione. “It will greatly benefit the residents and staff.”

The ASCC is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the capabilities of those who build with concrete, and to providing them a unified voice in the construction industry.  Members include concrete contracting firms, manufacturers, suppliers and others interested in the concrete industry, such as architects, specifiers and educators.  There are approximately 475 member companies in the United States and eight foreign countries.  For more information on the ASCC visit the web site at www.ascconline.org or call (866) 788-2722.