Contact: Mardi Ford
Grande Ronde Hospital (GRH) was recognized earlier this month for efforts in making hospital grounds landscape design beautiful and unique.
The Landscape and Community Forest Beautification Award was given by the Community Landscape and Forestry Commission for "harmony, beauty and creativity in landscape design" as stated in the award letter addressed to GRH Facilities Director Elaine LaRochelle. The letter also states the hospital was chosen by the selection committee from the fall 2013 nominations for the "integration of colors and textures of plant materials and hardscape accents."
The large landscape project encompasses the west hillside along Sunset Drive where the award sign is now displayed. In full growth the design will conceptualize a river of blue grass winding down the hill through the surrounding plantings. The project broke ground in June of 2012, and began to take shape last spring.
"This is the first year the plants have grown large enough to be the showstopper this fall. We see it becoming more beautiful each year as it matures," says LaRochelle.
The revitalization of the hillside was a necessitated by the installation of the new helistop. Large trees had to be removed from the flight path and the existing shrubbery was also found to be unhealthy, and full of spiders and weeds.
"With the exception of some small trees, all of the old vegetation had to be removed. We worked with GrandeScapes to help us turn our vision on paper into reality," says LaRochelle.
After the weed barrier and drip watering system were installed, more than 10,000 plants, bushes and trees were placed on the steep hillside. A groundcover of local decorative rock was laid in to serve as the back drop to the beautiful color palette now on display.
Grande Ronde Hospital is honored the landscape project has been recognized for its beauty, LaRochelle says, adding the purpose behind the extensive redesign of the hillside was to create a landscape for the entire community to enjoy for years to come.
"We work hard to keep our campus safe, clean and efficient.A beautiful environment helps the healing process so it's a win for everyone - the patients and visitors who come here when they need to, for our employees who work here every day," LaRochelle says.