Maggie’s provides free practical, social and emotional support to people with cancer and their family and friends, and is renowned for its garden design and architecture including its gardens by leading landscape designers such as Dan Pearson, Piet Olduf and Christopher Bradley-Hole. As part of Maggie’s commitment to the overall benefits the centres offer visitors, Maggie’s carefully considers the outdoor spaces, gardens and views at their centres.

The gardens at Maggie’s Centres contribute to the overall healing environment. With each garden carefully created to be a welcoming extension of the inside space, offering uplifting views out from each centre and a connection to the changing seasons and, in warmer weather, a pleasant place to sit and relax.

Maggie’s also runs gardening groups in selected centres across the UK as part of its unique, evidence-based programme of support. As well as keeping the gardens at the centres looking beautiful, the groups provide centre visitors with a chance to relax, socialise and exercise outdoors.

Research into Maggie’s Centre gardens has revealed that centre visitors value the sensory richness and evidence of wildlife offered by some of the gardens and feel that garden spaces provide a particular type of sanctuary.

One of the most difficult moments for someone coming to Maggie’s for the first time is crossing the threshold.  Unsure of what to expect, often having to deal with a new reality of living with cancer, crossing the threshold can feel daunting.  The way in which a garden reaches out to a new visitor, inviting them in, is therefore crucial.  How can that entrance be made more enticing?

Darren’s immediate response was to create a space that was secluded.  A garden that would be hidden and as a result, a space that created sanctuary for those within but with a way that could be viewed within.