What to expect at Yishun Pond Park, Sembawang Park and Sun Plaza Park’s new therapeutic gardens

NParks is on track to have 30 therapeutic gardens around the island by 2030.

Janella Ching

Will give you my Disney+ password if you promise to watch the shows I recommend.

Published: 12 October 2023, 4:01 PM

Three new therapeutic gardens – in Yishun Pond Park, Sembawang Park and Sun Plaza Park – were unveiled by the National Parks Board (NParks) on Wednesday (Oct 11).

This brings the total number of therapeutic gardens in the network to 13.

All of NParks’ therapeutic gardens were developed using evidence-based research in collaboration with the National University Health System (NUHS).

According to NParks, visiting such green spaces will bring about reduced stress levels, stronger mental resilience and desirable mood changes in individuals. 

“Therapeutic gardens are specially curated to allow us to interact with nature. They incorporate different terrains, rich biodiversity, specially selected plants and design features to enhance mental health and well-being,” said Second Minister for National Development Ms Indranee Rajah in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

With the opening of new therapeutic gardens in Yishun Pond Park and Sembawang Park, residents in the northern region of Singapore can now expect to participate in horticulture programmes closer to where they live.

Yishun Pond Park

The therapeutic garden at Yishun Pond Park was built in close collaboration with the nearby Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH). It incorporates facilities that are therapeutic and rehabilitative, accommodating to both general visitors and hospital outpatients.


1. Three-generational fitness corner

Located at the tail end of the garden, the three-generational fitness corner offers innovative equipment with eight adjustable levels of resistance.


Users can choose from resistance levels ranging from one to eight, by rotating a resistance selector knob. PHOTO CREDIT: NATIONAL PARKS BOARD, YOUTHOPIA/JANELLA CHING


This allows users to control the intensity of their workout according to their fitness levels and ages.


The kinetic hand cycle station features a wireless phone charging stand. Users can generate electricity through kinetic motion to charge their phones. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/JANELLA CHING


To promote inclusivity, the fitness corner was designed with wheelchair users in mind as well. It provides wheelchair-friendly machines that are of a lower height, such as the kinetic hand cycle station pictured above.


2. Activity shelter

Visitors will see the activity shelter as soon as they step into the therapeutic garden. The cool, shaded area is meant to be a comfortable spot for rest and relaxation. 

Various NParks horticulture programmes including scent bag making, gardening, flower pressing and plant propagation will also be held here.

These activities can promote mindfulness, low-intensity movement and improved fine motor skills for the young and the young at heart.


The shelter provides visitors with an unobstructed view of the adjacent woodlands. PHOTO CREDIT: NATIONAL PARKS BOARD


Those interested in NParks’ therapeutic horticulture programmes may await more updates and registration details on its microsite.


3. Gardening space with raised planters

Positioned right next to the activity shelter is a quaint gardening space with two planters of differing heights, to account for wheelchair users and the general public. 


The shorter planter (left) is of adequate height for wheelchair users. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/JANELLA CHING


NParks’ horticulture programme also offers gardening classes, where participants are taught the basics of plant maintenance, such as pruning, watering and weeding. 

In these classes, like-minded visitors can collaborate to learn a new skill, and share their cooking recipes and gardening experiences with each other.


The planters house edible plants such as mint, laksa, chives and basil. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/JANELLA CHING


The area features various herbs and spices such as the laksa leaf (persicaria odorata), that are commonly used in popular local dishes. 

Yishun Pond Park’s therapeutic garden can be accessed through the park entrance nearest to Nee Soon Sports Centre.

Sembawang Park

Sembawang Park’s 2,200sqm therapeutic garden is the second largest in Singapore, consisting of an active zone and passive zone to cater to different groups including children with special needs such as mild autism, and seniors with dementia.

The therapeutic garden includes specially curated features like a natural playscape, butterfly garden and calming area.


1. Natural playscape (Active Zone)

Natural elements such as boulders, tepees, log clusters and wooden balancing beams create an interactive and experiential play area for children.


The playscape incorporates upcycled logs from Sembawang Park. PHOTO CREDIT: NATIONAL PARKS BOARD


Children can also engage in sand play, which can enhance their fine motor skills and spark creativity.


2. Butterfly garden and trellis (Active Zone)

Visitors can expect to see butterfly host plants such as the lantana, snakeweed, peacock flower and rattleweed. 

These plants are known to attract butterflies like the chocolate peony, malayan eggfly and dark glassy tiger to linger around their flowers and help pollinate them.


The bamboo trellis pictured above is a simple structure to support and display climber plants, especially shrubs. PHOTO CREDIT: NATIONAL PARKS BOARD


The butterfly garden was also built around an existing foot reflexology strip. Engaging in a walk along such strips is believed to relieve stress, provide better blood circulation and reduce muscle tension.


The foot reflexology strip showcases various pictograms including swords and anchors, paying homage to the coastal heritage of Sembawang Naval Base and Sembawang Shipyard. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/JANELLA CHING


Visitors can look out for multiple photo-ops around the garden, especially the bamboo trellis, which is always a popular choice according to NParks.


3. Calming corner (Passive Zone)

Visitors can end off a long day of exploration at the passive zone’s calming corner. It is a private, quiet spot with timber benches and a water feature in the middle.


The water feature provides a calming auditory and visual experience for users. PHOTO CREDIT: NATIONAL PARKS BOARD


According to NParks, the calming corner is proven to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety through water sound therapy.

Sembawang Park’s therapeutic garden is most easily accessed through Carpark One or Two.

Sun Plaza Park

The third and final new therapeutic garden is located in the east region at Sun Plaza Park, featuring a bead maze and garden brook among other facilities.


1. Bead maze

According to NParks, the life-sized bead maze is built for both children and adults, and allows them to improve their social and cognitive skills.


The “beads” from the bead maze are made from recycled tree logs. PHOTO CREDIT: NATIONAL PARKS BOARD


2. Garden brook

Visitors may sit and unwind alongside the water feature, which can engage their visual and auditory senses.


The small, cascading water feature is built on a mound softened by surrounding plants, creating the vertical drop which mimics that of a waterfall. PHOTO CREDIT: NATIONAL PARKS BOARD


More facilities at Sun Plaza Park include a gardening space similar to the one at Yishun Pond Park’s therapeutic garden, an activity shelter, as well as a foot reflexology sensory walk.

All three therapeutic gardens are now open to the public. Individuals or groups interested in NParks’ therapeutic horticultural programmes may seek more information on its website.

NParks added that Singaporeans can look forward to two new therapeutic gardens in West Coast Park and Punggol Park, which are currently in the works.

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