Creating your own sensory garden

Creating your own sensory garden

Sensory Gardens, like the name suggests, are natural spaces designed specifically to engage the senses. There are many different ways to create a sensory garden and designing to purpose and the surrounding area is important.

What is a Sensory Garden?

A Sensory Garden is more than just a collection of plants; it's a carefully designed space that stimulates all five senses: sight, smell, touch, sound, and taste. By thoughtfully selecting plants, incorporating landscaping elements, and utilising found objects, we can create an immersive sensory experience for everyone to enjoy.
All sensory gardens should provide a connection with nature, allow people to immerse themselves in the space.

Why create a sensory garden?

Creating a sensory garden offers numerous benefits that cater to various needs and preferences. The purpose of a sensory garden should be used like a design brief.
For example, if designing a therapeutic garden, the use of plants and elements that promote relaxation and soothing for individuals seeking a serene environment. 
Whereas an educational space should stimulate curiosity and engagement with the environment.
Sensory gardens are also becoming increasingly popular for the care and management of specific conditions such as dementia, autism spectrum disorder, post traumatic stress, anxiety and providing comfort and support in a palliative care environment. Overall, by stimulating all five senses—sight, smell, touch, sound, and taste—a sensory garden offers a holistic experience that enhances well-being and enriches the lives of those who interact with it.

Creating a sensory garden 

A sensory garden is a living environment that will be in a constant state of change, this change may be subtle or extreme depending on the design, local environment, weather and seasons. It is important to factor external influences and change into the design process.
Tips for engaging each of the senses.


  • Flowering plants and fruits introduce vibrant colors.
  • Deciduous trees will enhance visual change of seasons
  • The build environment, garden furniture or art pieces can be incorporated into a sensory garden.
  • Designing an area that attracts wildlife like butterflies and birds will add visual interest.


  • Plants, trees and grasses with weeping or longer leaves will rustle in the wind
  • Capturing the sound of rain on leaves or the built environment 
  • Adding water to the landscape will bring in a range of wildlife like birds frogs and crickets
  • Installing elements like wind chimes or fountains enhance auditory experiences.


  • Plant fragrant plant species like especially flowers, herbs and fruit.
  • Some plants have specific seasonal aromas that can bring up memories and feelings.
  • The smell of certain materials will change in the weather, wood, sand and stone.


  • Add plants and trees with different textures like rough bark, soft leaves or smooth fruit.
  • Natural landscaping with different elements like mulch, sand and stone
  • Encourage tactile exploration with plants and surfaces that invite touch.
  • Soft grass / ground to sit on
  • Add a tree that provides shade on a hot day or allows sun during winter.


  • Incorporate herbs, fruits, and vegetables for a flavorful experience.
  • Enjoy fresh ingredients while adding visual and aromatic appeal to your garden.
  • The air will taste differently when aromatic plants are nearby. A forest with canopy layers can enhance this experience.
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