Designing a sensory garden: a feast for all five senses

EEdgar February 15, 2024 7:01 AM

A sensory garden is a delightful way to engage all five senses and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature. They are not only visually striking but also full of fragrant smells, interesting textures, tasty treats, and soothing sounds.

Why create a sensory garden?

The benefits of sensory gardens go beyond just aesthetics. They can provide a calming and therapeutic space, especially beneficial for kids and adults with sensory processing disorders. Sensory gardens can also be a wonderful educational tool, helping children learn about plants and the environment.

Choosing plants for a sensory garden

When it comes to designing a sensory garden, the selection of plants is crucial. Each plant should stimulate at least one of the five senses.

Plants for sight

Choose plants with vibrant colors and interesting shapes. Consider plants such as Rudbeckia hirta (Black-eyed Susan), Lilium (lilies), and Rosa (roses).

Plants for smell

Incorporate fragrant plants like Lavandula (lavender), Mentha (mint), and Rosa damascena (damask rose).

Plants for touch

Add texture with plants like Stachys byzantina (lamb's ear), Helianthus (sunflower), and Acalypha hispida (chenille plant).

Plants for taste

Think about edible plants like Fragaria (strawberries), Thymus vulgaris (thyme), and Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary).

Plants for sound

Choose plants that make a sound when the wind blows such as Miscanthus sinensis (Chinese silver grass), Bambusa (bamboo), and Zea mays (corn).

Layout and materials

The layout of a sensory garden should be considerate of its visitors. Paths should be wide enough for wheelchair access and surfaces should be non-slip. Consider adding elements like water features for sound and mirrors for visual effect.

Here is a sample layout for a sensory garden:

Area Plants and Features
Entrance Fragrant plants like lavender and rosemary. A welcome sign with Braille.
Sight area Brightly colored flowers and interesting shapes. Mirrors to reflect light.
Smell area Fragrant flowers and herbs. Scented oils for additional smell.
Touch area Plants with different textures. Sculptures and other tactile elements.
Taste area Edible plants and herbs. Signs explaining which plants can be eaten.
Sound area Wind chimes, instruments, plants that rustle in the wind. Water feature for additional sound.

Designing a sensory garden requires careful planning and consideration, but the result is a garden that truly engages all five senses and provides a therapeutic and educational space for all.

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