Depending what you want to get out of your sensory garden, plant selection, materials and design will play a part and I have included a few tips on this and my other pages; Sensory plants Design Herb garden plantas-para-un-jardín-sensorial
I hope this article helps to transform a bit of your own garden into a lovely sensory garden experience.
These are the materials and plants you can use to stimulate the five senses in your own sensory garden.
I have given more information about plants and the senses they could develop with their different types of scent, texture, sound, taste, visual effect here plants and the senses they could develop.
Plants which change colour through the seasons are interesting to watch as the leaves and berries grow and change colour.
Most flowers are very colourful during the summer, whilst many trees will blossom in spring before the leaves turn to shades of gold, brown and red in the autumn.
For winter colour check out my article, plants for winter colour
Changes in colour and appearance of materials like paved and pebble pathways when they get wet also add colour.
Shapes are also important in a sensory garden, materials like crazy paving and rough cut flags. The distinctive shape of oak and sycamore trees, flowers such as the daisy and poppy, the varied fruits of fruit trees.
Movement catches the eye too, so maybe add trees such as willow that wave in the wind.
A fountain or waterfall will add movement and attract birds rustling feathers as they bathe.
There will be plenty of sound to listen to, the natural sounds of wind in the trees, wildlife sounds. A shallow stream flowing over pebbles or a waterfall, even wind chimes.
Scent and smell.
Plant a mix of plants and flowers which give off different scents. Ones you can smell without touching, honeysuckle and roses, some you will need to "get up close to" like daffodils and violets and some you will have to "get up very close to and gently crush them" mint and most herbs come to mind.
Also include plants in your sensory garden that might mean something to you personally, from way back. Composting leaves and grass clippings give off a distinctive smell and the compost can come
in handy too.
Texture is very important in your sensory garden both rough and smooth (mosses, lichens, holly leaves, rivened stone and smooth pebbles, leaves, slate) and the stuff nature will provide like frog
spawn and caterpillars.
Be careful with this one!- Only include berries and fruits which you are sure are safe to eat.- I was given this tip by a very rich widow I know who still has her sensory garden.
Children might not always want to just chill out and feel the wind and touch the leaves!
So it's a good idea to include plants, materials and structures that will encourage play.
Woven willow for fencing or cover over a seat, looks, sounds and feels good.
Air can generate soothing sounds as it blows through trees, bamboo, grass and fences. Don't forget wind chimes and the different sounds different materials make.
All of the human senses can be stimulated even in a small area of a garden or patio or even a pathway.
Pathways can be planted with scented shrubs and plants that will tolerate foot traffic, surfaced with cobbles, rivened flagstones or slabs and fenced with rustic 1/2 rails for truly great sensory experiences.
Containers can be used for decked or paved areas, I recently designed and built a Sensory area using only bulbs, flowers and shrubs planted in flowerpots and containers.
more information to help design and build a sensory garden
With a few design changes a sensory garden can be a good place for people with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia too.