Landscaping that will survive veterinary patients

October 22, 2018
Dan Chapel, AIA, NCARB

Dan Chapel is president of Chapel Associates in Little Rock, Ark., a nationally recognized firm specializing in animal facility design. His firm has participated in the design of more than 500 veterinary hospitals, boarding kennels, and animal shelters. Past projects include two Veterinary Economics Hospitals of the Year and several Merit Award winners. Chapel is a nationally recognized expert in the field of veterinary architecture, and has served as a featured speaker on topics of animal facility design at all major veterinary conferences. He has spoken at every Veterinary Economics Hospital Design Conference since 1981 and has served on the Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board since 1985. For a list of articles and video by Chapel, click here.

Putting some plants around the clinic? Make sure they'll stand up to being trampled and peed on.

Just like your patients, river birches shed a lot too--and, hey, bonus, this helps protect the trees from parasites and more. Think of it as a subtle signal of the importance of parasite prevention in your practice's front yard. (Adobe Stock)

In the age of Fear Free, it's common knowledge that the physical space of your veterinary practice should harmonize with patients, helping them have the best experience possible. And it goes without saying that elements of the environment shouldn't harm patients.

But what about the reverse, when marauding Maine coons and bounding bloodhounds threaten your landscaping? On the topic of toxic flora, HospitalDesign360 speaker Dan Chapel, AIA, NCARB, defers to veterinarians. However, there is one type of greenery he favors: Whether it's inside the clinic or around the grounds, Chapel is a fan of plants that require little upkeep. For example, in the case of one popular exterior feature, pet relief areas:

A view from the outside: How does your clinic stack up?

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What makes a veterinary practice street sign work (and what doesn't).

"I've found over the years that river birches work well (in such areas)," he says, "they're relatively self-maintaining and don't fall prey to heavy doses of urine."

Chapel also recommends using ground covering and plants like hollies that, in effect, protect themselves with brambles or similar prickly defenses.

Watch the video for more.

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