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The Spectrum Health Medical Group Heart and Vascular Center Two-Sided Green Wall is located at 2902 Bradford Street NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525; visit their website and Health Beat page. Watch the 2:37 Spectrum Health Medical Group Heart & Vascular Center – Project of the Week 5/23/16 video from on the greenroofsTV channel on YouTube. Project of the Week video photo credits: All courtesy of LiveWall and Chris Clark/

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Based in West Michigan, Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system offering a full continuum of care through the Spectrum Health Hospital Group, which is comprised of 12 hospitals, ambulatory and service sites and more than 3,100 physicians and advanced practice providers. Spectrum Health was named one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems—and in the top five among the largest health systems—by Truven Health Analytics™ for 2016. Just one of many medical specialties and services provided include Spectrum Health’s heart and vascular care experts, which deliver world-class care.

In June 2015, Spectrum Health installed a 200-square-foot LiveWall green wall outside an entrance to the Spectrum Health Medical Group Heart and Vascular Center. “The green wall is a sustainability statement with a clear line of sight from the parking lot and sidewalk leading up to the building,” said Bruce De Vrou, project manager, grounds services, Spectrum Health.

“New studies reinforce existing research showing that patients who have views of green space heal faster,” said Dave MacKenzie, president of Hortech, Inc. (Spring Lake, Mich.) and LiveWall, LLC, its eco-friendly vertical garden enterprise. “That makes them an attractive design feature for healthcare organizations.”

Measuring 5’4” high by 20’ wide on each side, the freestanding green wall is a unique two-sided installation. The east-facing side is the Heart Planted Wall, visible as patients and staff come up to the building entrance. It is landscaped with a distinctive design of three heart shapes expressed in a dark red color with Heucheras (Coral Bell) plus other perennials and sedums. The west side facing toward the building is the Vertical Edibles Garden planted with a variety of vegetables and herbs. Vegetables grown here include tomatoes, green peppers, Swiss chard, kale, leeks and herbs such as oregano, basil, rosemary, and mint. In total 150 plants with about a dozen different types were planted in the 150 16-inch inserts of the LiveWall Outdoor System with Automatic Irrigation.

During work breaks, Spectrum Health staff enjoy looking at the green wall and gather at picnic tables and benches placed on the lawn nearby. They also benefit from harvesting herbs and vegetables to take home. Kloosterman Landscaping, Spectrum Health’s landscape contractor, maintains the green wall which only needs about 15 minutes a week during the growing season.

“The heart planted wall invites patients, their families and our staff into the center. The vertical herb and vegetable wall invites them to think about healthy eating and the sources of our food,” said Sarah Chartier, sustainability program manager, Spectrum Health. “Overall, the green wall provides a green landscape element for connecting to nature to relax and recharge.”

The patients served at the Spectrum Health Medical Group Heart and Vascular Center have had heart surgery or heart scares, such as episodes of chest pain. Post-surgery patients come to the clinic 2-3 times a week for rehabilitation services, including heart health check-ups, exercise, and nutrition counseling. Those needing preventive cardiology also come 2-3 times a week for services to reduce health risks. Each time they enter the center, the heart planted wall welcomes them.

“Our LiveWall is a living representation of heart health,” said Kathleen Nickerson, R.N., charge nurse, clinical team, cardiovascular medicine, Spectrum Health Medical Group. “The two sides are the two sides of heart health.”

Dave MacKenzie proposed the two-sided, freestanding wall design which was constructed like a fence with vertical rails sunk into the ground and cemented in place like fence posts. The outdoor LiveWall green wall modular planters have holes in the bottom for drainage, and spray nozzles at the top of the horizontal rails water the plants like rain. Charge Nurse Kathleen Nickerson envisioned the heart design as an art piece to promote healthy living.

The heart side is alive, thriving, healthy. It symbolizes the process patients are engaged in to restore or improve their heart health. The vertical edibles garden side promotes healthy eating for healthy hearts.

Spectrum Health has LiveRoof® vegetative roofs on three of its facilities. Now, the prominent and publicly accessible two-sided LiveWall not only welcomes patients and staff as they enter the Spectrum Health Medical Group Heart and Vascular Center, but the green wall also inspires heart health with its unique, thoughtful, and demonstrative design.


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