Perennials, Pathways, and Patios Connect Seniors and Create a Sense of Belonging

Fieldstone Assisted and Independent Living Community in Olympia, Washington.

When the Fieldstone Assisted and Independent Living Community project landed on Jeff Glander’s desk, he had no idea his father-in-law would one day be a resident at the center. As SCJ Lacey’s Principal Landscape Architect, Jeff worked with Jill McFarland, the project lead, to develop a landscape design for the eight-acre grounds in Olympia, Washington. Their goal was to create a stimulating environment for residents that evoked a sense of connection and belonging.

SCJ Lacey Principal Landscape Architect Jeff Glander on a pre-COVID outing with father-in-law, Dave, a Fieldstone Independent Living resident

Three months after the care center opened, Jeff’s father-in-law, Dave, came up from California to tour several facilities. Fieldstone was on his list. The landscape was still under construction, and Jeff shared some of the design elements as they walked the grounds.

The outdoor spaces, including large and small patios, walking paths, and the community garden of raised beds, appealed to Dave’s desire for a variety of places to spend time outside. He has been there a little over a year and, according to Jeff, some days it’s hard to get him to leave.

“He loves the landscape, he’s constantly mentioning it,” said Jeff. “Jill and the team created a lot of seasonal interest with the plantings, so even looking out the window there are flowers and trees in bloom throughout the year, and lots of color in the fall.”

Flowers and trees bloom year-round throughout Fieldstone Olympia’s outdoor spaces

Dave is a resident in Fieldstone’s Independent Living center. On many days, he goes to the putting green to practice his swing. He also enjoys walking his dog on the paths around two large storm ponds, designed by SCJ’s civil engineering team.

As the first SCJ business group on the project, the civil team worked with the architects at Thomas Architecture Studios (TAS) to develop the site plan. From grading to drainage to frontage improvements, the civil group handled preliminary engineering to prep the project for construction. Their effort included a traffic scoping analysis and the required state environmental policy act (SEPA) checklist.

A water feature helps absorb noise from the nearby freeway

“The whole project team put careful consideration into the layout,” said Jeff. “For the landscape architecture component, everything from benches along the paths, to the plantings, to the water feature absorbing noise from the nearby freeway helps create a secure, comfortable environment,” said Jeff. With the COVID-19 pandemic hindering residents’ ability to safely get out and about, Dave’s contentment is a relief to Jeff and his spouse.

For Jill, creating the landscape design for Fieldstone was a joy. “We wanted the outdoor spaces to feel inviting for residents, especially those with limited mobility and difficulties with cognition,” she said. “Knowing Dave is happy with them is very rewarding. We hope others have a similar experience.”

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