Nature’s Perspective recently completed construction of a restorative water garden at Three Crowns Park, a senior community in northwest Evanston that has served its residents for over a century.


In the early spring of this year, Ariel Schrodt, a new resident of Three Crowns Park, had a vision of creating a memorial garden for his late wife, Ellen. He wanted to recreate the pond that he and his wife had lovingly built together at their previous residence. He donated several tons of Chilton Limestone boulders that he had used to build his own pond.

Nature’s Perspective was contacted to work alongside the community at Three Crowns to turn his vision into a reality. We began the process with multiple concepts and renderings to show how his vision could be incorporated into a restorative garden.

Throughout the summer, the community at Three Crowns came together to raise funds by selling memorial pavers and other donor items.  In late summer, the community’s fundraising goal was reached, and our design for a restorative water garden was selected.

We began construction in October. Being a large site, access was easy, but utilities were not. We were challenged by having to incorporate our garden into the existing irrigation system. Other obstacles included wiring a GFI outlet for the water feature, routing lighting cable, and securing benches to a solid foundation.

The end of construction coincided with the 5th anniversary of Three Crowns’ 2007 facility expansion. Despite the cold and windy weather on October 29th, many made it outside for a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Restorative Garden Design Principles

Outdoor spaces of all sizes and settings are designed based on a set of principles. An outdoor area at a senior community must be easily navigable on paths of a smooth hard material. It must also allow access, circulation, and full use by persons with disabilities. Beyond accessibility, these photos show other design principles that came into play in this design:

The Journey

These photos show how the layout invites exploration. The path was designed with materials that replicate the colors of a forest floor. It winds through other garden elements to create hidden views.

Sensory Awakening

The senses are brought alive in this space, especially when viewed at night. Moonlighting is a landscape lighting technique that casts shadows of tree branches and leaves onto the ground. Here, moonlighting is used for wayfinding.


A memorial garden can be the perfect place for quiet reflection. Three seating areas in the restorative garden provide safe, protected areas surrounded by lush plant life changing by the season. We can’t think of a better place to sit and enjoy nature.

Ariel Schrodt (center) at the ribbon-cutting ceremony with his son (at right) and a friend (at left).