Davenport Vander Veer Enabiling Garden

The City of Davenport Parks & Recreation Department wanted to provide a park and garden space specifically for residents often underserved by outdoor spaces including those with limited mobility, diminished vision or mental health disabilities. The primary purpose of the garden was to serve as a horticultural therapy and teaching space while also providing a public space open to all park users. 

Site constraints including existing greenhouses, parking areas, and a rose garden limited space for the garden and the project had to contribute to the overall purpose of the more than a century old Vander Veer Park.

Stakeholders including parks staff, hospital therapy programs, and the design team helped to develop the concept and components that would make up the enabling garden. Staff at the Chicago Botanic Garden were also consulted in order to provide a functional, healing space for horticulture teaching and therapy.

Finally, the city wanted sustainable and natural elements to fit with the park setting and to provide added interest to the garden.

The Solution

  • Raised planter beds, handicapped accessible pan planting beds and vertical wall planters were included to provide a high level of access for all garden users.
  • Six concrete planters with curved walls maximize the useable area.
  • Planter walls, decorative cedar fencing and iron gates help define and control the space.
  • The garden is now ADA accessible to the park store with the addition of a push panel actuated door.
  • A water fountain with a spill edge provides a cascade of water that can be touched by garden users.
  • Lighting and an external sound system enhance the usability of the garden space.
  • Permeable pavers provide for storm water management, as well as a decorative surface for the garden.