The project was the result of collaboration between The Medical Center Foundation, HGOR Planners and Landscape Architects, Northeast Georgia Medical Center and Chris and Jane B. Smoot. The garden was dedicated in the summer of 2019. The Smoots, who generously provided the funding and much of the inspiration for the project, hoped for “a waterfall that would replicate nature from the north Georgia mountains, a natural setting that would provide a place for patients’ families, providers, staff and the rest of the community to find replenishment and solace in this busy world.”
The Fockele team, Jane and Chris Smoot, and Steve Sanchez of HGOR gather for a photo at the dedication ceremony.
The hillside water garden links the medical center’s main entrance to the Love Light Plaza below. It accommodates a wide range of users, serving as an extension of care and providing open air respite spaces outside the hospital. Patients, staff and visitors view the waterfall garden from rooms in the surrounding four-story hospital building.
On the ground floor plaza level, the sights and sounds of water entertain and engage people who relax on sunny benches or dine at shaded tables just outside the hospital café. The plaza allows patients, their families and staff to step outdoors into nature in a very peaceful setting,” said Anthony Williamson, president of NGMC Braselton. “The Courtyard Waterfall creates a whole new experience and level of healing in the plaza through the sight and sounds of moving water.”
Courtyard waterfall under construction.
Visitors approaching the hospital ‑ first see the circular fountain that is the wellspring for the first section of the waterfall.
The water spills from the fountain into a stone aqueduct that conveys the water across the hillside garden.
From stone spillways along the aqueduct, the water tumbles into the waterfall.
The falling water cascades to the plaza below filling a pool on the edge of the patio. From there the water is pumped up the hill and back into the source fountain at the top of the garden.
A section of the waterfall seeps through river stone into a concealed reservoir and into the elaborate re-circulation system.
Attracted by water splashing through a garden of native plants, birds, butterflies and other wildlife flock to the colorful habitat.
Plants, chosen because they are north Georgia natives, include trees such as American Hornbeam and Black Gum. Bottlebrush Buckeye, Sweetshrub, Sweetspire, Winterberry and Native Azalea frame masses of perennials such as Aster, Joe Pye Weed, Swamp Sunflower, Black-eyed Susan, Maiden Fern, Ironweed and Bee Balm that provide year-round color and contrasting textures. The landscape was designed by the landscape architect firm, HGOR. The hospital is a LEED certified facility. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and is a green building certification program used worldwide
Prior to planting, we installed and stabilized top soil.
Planting areas along the waterfall and throughout the garden were developed using topsoil and soil amendments.
Because we provide maintenance services for this and other North Georgia Health System therapeutic gardens, we can ensure that the designers’ intentions will accurately be reflected. As the gardens mature and the trees grow, our design team assists in making the modifications to the gardens that will keep them healthy and beautiful.
Maintenance of Pots on patio
The design team from HGOR Planners and Landscape Architects rendered this concept illustration for the Courtyard Waterfall to launch the project. The drawing represents the goals of the collaborating team members after considering all components that would result in the creation and operation of the beautiful garden. Compare it with the photo of the garden today and see how accurately the design intent carried through!
Courtyard Waterfall is one of ten therapeutic gardens found on NGHS campuses. Others include, Jack and Janice Frost Water Garden, Christian-David Family Pet Park, Anne’s Garden, Wilheit-Keys Peace Garden, Rotary Entrance Plaza, Nell’s Prayer Garden, Pope Family Garden, and two Lovelight Plazas. Each garden was totally funded through philanthropy with signature gifts to The Medical Center Foundation.