Breaking new ground with Sobell House’s state-of-the-art clinic and garden

At the end of 2017 I was asked if I would be interested in being involved in designing the garden for Sobell House’s planned new extension at their Oxford site. Sobell House provides valuable palliative and end of life care to patients across the county. The much-needed new clinic and courtyard garden will give the hard-working organisation extra ward space, and in particular, is designed with dementia patients in mind.

I had first become aware of Sobell House through the networking group, Opendoorz. At one of the guest networking events I met Dominque Cadiou, a fundraiser for Sobell House, and having heard about the work they do, I agreed to donate my time to draw up the garden design plans for the new annexe. I visited the site many times, liaising not only with Sobell House’s CEO, Diane Gardner, but also with the architect Georgia Burt, director at Oxfordshire-based Gray Baynes + Shew.

My concept for the new courtyard garden incorporates three main features: privately screened areas so that rooms facing the courtyard can have the beds wheeled outside; private spaces and separate seating areas for patients and their families to wander and sit in peace; a secure and secluded space for nurses and carers to take a break and draw breath during the working day.

Building work on the new extension started in the spring of 2018 and the aim is to open later in 2019. Take a look at the sketch plan design for the site, with the garden areas marked in green.


Here is a 3D plan of the enclosed courtyard:


Below you can see an artist’s impression of the garden:


The garden showcases an evergreen architecture and structure, with year-round interest and colour. It’s designed so it can be easily maintained by volunteers in conjunction with Sobell House. 

The most recent news update from Sobell House’s extension can be read here.