This multi level architect designed facility had an outdoor area with white tiles and white concrete. The result was a “desert look” – blinding heat and glare. The only access to the outdoors many people had in probably the last place they lived was uninhabitable.

Subcontracted through Design Studio 22, we were asked to convert two such outdoor areas into usable spaces. The owners also were interested in the health benefits of outdoor exercise and stimulation for dementia sufferers. Both terraces were built on roofs that weren’t engineered for a roof garden, so the additions had to be very lightweight.

Glare and heat were cut down by covering the tiles with artificial grass (the roof could not support turf) and adding shade pergolas. Temporary shade cloth is used while permanent vines are trained over the pergolas. A meandering path was made through a variety of fruit trees, edible berries, colourful flowers, herbs, bushtucker, colourful & textured pots and a water feature for interest. Local aboriginal community member Aunty Shah painted a beautiful and stimulating mural which tells a story along the path.

Another floor was planted with a native garden using species adapted to shallow soils.