Gardens are places of serenity and relaxation. A sensory garden not only looks beautiful but has plants that taste, feel and smell good too. In a home garden, you might hit life’s pause button, reflect on your day, sip a refreshing drink, write in a journal, or just sit still and drink in all that nature has to offer. When you grow plants, you get the bonus of enjoying and sharing the fruits of your worthwhile labor with others.
A well-planned sensory garden will have plenty for the eyes, ears, nose, mouth and hands to savor. It will be a feast for all the senses. You don’t need much space or time, either. It can be as simple as some pots and planters or as extravagant as a meandering stone path with a waterfall. When planning what to include in a sensory garden, many items will fall into two or three categories of senses.
Sensory Garden Ideas for Sight
- Flowering trees, bushes and shrubs, like dogwood, bougainvillea and viburnum, add beauty and color to the garden.
- Marigolds, impatiens and begonias planted in rows make a nice border or plant them here and there for little pops of color.
- The interesting shapes and textures of the silver dollar plant and lambs’ ears are pleasing to the eye.
Ideas for Sounds in a Sensory Garden
Many sounds are naturally part of a garden. You hear the wind rustling the leaves, the chatter of squirrels and the songs of the birds. A feeder filled with a songbird mix of birdseed will entice chickadees, finches, and cardinals to come sing for you. Wind chimes will generate a pleasing clink or jangle on breezy days.
A sensory garden water feature can add new sounds to your outdoor space as well as light and movement to attract your eyes.
Best Smelling Flowers for a Sensory Garden
Choose your sensory garden plants according to the mood you wish to create in your garden.
- Lavender and rosemary emit invigorating scents.
- Roses and scented geraniums give off a calming aroma.
- Magnolia, gardenia, and oriental lily flowers each have a strong fragrance.
- If you will be in your garden in the evening or early morning, you may want the sweet scent of night blooming jasmine.
Ways to Include Touch in a Sensory Garden
From the feathery plumes of pampas grass and astilbe to the spikes of agave and yucca, there are so many textures that can be included in a garden. The sharp-pointed leaves of holly, the thorns on rose bushes, and the needles of the various kinds of cacti all look uninviting to touch. But it is fun to stroke the fronds of a fern or a Norfolk Island pine.
Sensory Garden Plants that Taste Good
Delicious plants complete the experience.
- The fresh flavors of tomato and peppers make these a favorite for gardeners.
- Herbs like parsley, mint, basil and chives are easy to grow and can be cut and used in cooking.
- For tasty treats that can be enjoyed right there in the garden, plant an orange, apple, pear or peach tree.
Benefits of a Sensory Garden
Getting out into nature is so important for our health. A sensory garden may be just the thing you need. After digging, pruning and watering, take some time to sit and relax as you watch, listen, smell, touch and taste the benefits of all your hard work. Whether you design a small container garden on your back patio or an abundant landscape, you and your loved ones can take pleasure in the natural habitat you created.
Another thing to consider growing in a sensory garden is edible flowers. They are flavorful, fragrant, and colorful!