How to Create a Sensory Garden

How to Create a Sensory Garden

How many of us have been to visit a sensory garden and if so did we take stock of what these facilities entail. We may have been to one of these outdoor gardens and did not realise that we were passing through one of these and perhapssensory outdoor pergola were not aware that these grounds even exist. They are a relatively new phenonomen and its possible that the benefits of these facilities were not realised until some detailed research and development was carried out into these gardens or outdoor spaces.

It’s really easy to create one of these sensory gardens, but we have got to realise that they require a lot of work, there are a lot of extras required, compared to the standard garden, all of which means that they cost more for the labor and construction.  Primarily, these gardens are for people, both adults and children who have special needs, may be suffering from autism or have other life limiting conditions, whereby they would find it difficult to fit into main stream society.


How to create a sensory garden;


In essence, these outdoor gardens are created with  special purposes in mind and these would be to enable patients with special needs to go outdoors and get that garden experience that we as able bodied people would perhaps, take for granted on a daily basis. So therefore, to create one of these outdoor recreation and relaxing envoirnments, we would need a lot of planning and preperation. Firstly the location is paramount in that we would not like to construct one of these gardens in an area where there is a lot of daily traffic or commotion close by, as it would defeat the purpose of the exercise. These are located in quite, peaceful, tranquil and serene areas and are largely confined to the grounds of  hospitals, hospices,  special needs schools, nursing homes, care homes and other rehabiliting facilities.


Sensory garden plants


These sensory gardens are predominantly hard landscaped, have water features, perhaps an aviary and a large selection of strong scented shrubs and flowers. There are usually walkways throughout these gardens, where wheelchairs could easily be manoeuvred throughout. There would be water fountains, streams and perhaps raised beds to accomodate the shrubs and flowers. There may be walls painted in bright colours and also there may have fruit trees and in some cases, specially designed pergolas. So we can see from the above list, there is a lot of detail that goes into making and constructing one of these sensory gardens, so that they are fit for purpose.


How does a sensory garden work;


The principal function of a sensory garden is to stimulate  people’s senses and that in turn is so beneficial to those  that use this facility. It’s seen as a healing and rehabilition element of their recovery and helps them connect with nature and to be aware of their surroundings. The senses that we are speaking about would be… Sound, Touch, Sight, Taste and Smell. Each and every one of our senses work in different ways and the experts have recognised that if the aforementioned senses could be stimulated or awoken in some small way,  it would help those people with their illness or condition and aid with their recouperation and recovery. It’s a little known fact that those people who have limited mobilities and are restricted in some ways have compensatory abilities in other areas of their being, hence the sensory gardens for this purposes.


Sensory garden for children


Sensory gardens for kids;


In this facility, we would not have as much garden detail per say, but perhaps more in the way of toys and maybe a playground envoirnment. Bright coloured walls, lots of toys, sand pits, wind chiming bamboos, swings and other play areas or fun elements would adorn these kids sensory parks or gardens. Health and safety would be a big consideration in the planning and preperation of one of these gardens, for obvious reasons. Naturally these sensory playgrounds would be supervised and the primary function and idea here would be to make this space, an area of fun and enjoyment for those who would be using these facilities.


Sensory gardens for the visually impaired or blind;


Most organisations and health facilities that cater for the blind or those with impaired vision are nowadays incorporating these sensory facilities in their plans and considerations. The idea is similar in nature and design to some of the above described, but with a little more detail to certain elements of the layout and construction. Naturally the walkways would be wider, more space orientated and the aromatic and fragrent selection of the plants and flowers would also be taken into account. Specialist work tools would also be provided if these people wished to participate in some maintenance or gardening exercises. These garden tools would have shorter handles, softer to touch and possibly brighter coloured handles and also different designs to the norm.


sensory rockery garden


Cost of a sensory garden;


The cost of a sensory garden would obviously be a lot more that the standard backgarden would cost, due to all of the extras that are required to bring these facilities up to sensory standard. There are alot of extra materials required, the plants, shrubs and flowers are different to the normal back yard garden and so on. Its really easy to see where  and how the cost would mount up considerably. If one was to sit down and list all the materials that go towards making and constructing these sensory gardens and then factor in the labor and other areas like landscaping, planners and designers, its easy to see how good sized outdoor facility would cost upwards of $50,000.


To summarize;


We are now seeing more and more of these sensory gardens as we drive around our communities and they are a fantastic and wonderful experience for the participants and even for ourselves to observe and stroll through. The workmanship and detail that go into the construction of these outdoor spaces is to be admired and acknowledged. I know in my own area when one of these gardens was recently constructed, it was partially built with voluntary contributions from local contractors and hardware stores, which has to be positively admired. I trust once again that this post was informational and informative and that it helped to explain what these facilities are designed for. If you would like to contact us with any queries or questions, please feel free to do so, via the comments section down below or directly through to our email .

10 thoughts on “How to Create a Sensory Garden

  1. Hi Phil,
    The truth is that he did not know that “sensory gardens” existed. Specially built for people with certain disabilities in their senses. As a farmer, I also love gardening, and I really know what a beautiful garden can achieve in all of us. Another excellent post with lots of information, thank you very much!

    1. Hi there

      Many thanks for stopping by and reading this post. I appreciate your comments and being a farmers son myself, I like the outdoors and also love gardens of all descriptions.

      This post briefly describes what a ssensory garden is all about and what the primary function of an outdoor sensory garden is all about.

      Thanks agaain for stopping by and happy gardening,

      Cheers Phil Browne

  2. Sensory garden, an idea that will be useful for many, I am a blogger who is spreading awareness about autism and disorders. I like the concept as it is related to the well being of the kids.

    As a blogger who can relate to this content, I know what environment should be given to these special kids. So, now I can see how such a place would be perfect for kids with special needs.

    1. Hi there Hari

      Many thanks for stopping by and reading this post, its greatly appreciated. I am glad that you have found this post informative and interesting and that you enjoyed reading through this article.

      It is a great idea to make these playgrounds as colourful as possible and also that they are safe and that they will give the children hours and hours of enjoyment.

      Thanks again and best wishes on your blog, do drop by every now and again as we are constantly updating and adding new content to our websites.

      Cheers and best wishes


  3. Hello Phil
    I very much enjoyed reading your post. To create a sensory garden I think is a wonderful idea. I would concentrate on smelling and nice looking plants. To have a garden section built as a sensory garden would be enough for me. Why should only people with different abilities have the comfort of walking through a nice smelling and colorful looking garden? The paths to walk on could also be built out of different materials so we can walk barefoot and have the sense on our feet.
    Thanks for sharing and have a great time

    1. Hi there again Stephan
      Thanks for dropping by, reading this post and offering some great positve and thoughtful comments. These are greatly appreciated. I agree with you totally and I just wanted to give a brief overview of what sensory gardens are for.
      We could as you suggest have our own sensory gardens where we could enjoy our surroundings and have some really fragrent scented plants and flowers to compliment our own backgardens, for sure.
      Thanks again for the positive thoughts and happy gardening
      Cheers Phil Browne

  4. Wow! I’m a fan of gardening but I’ve just learned about sensory garden beds.
    That’s great.
    Next season I was thinking about making my first raised bed. I love all the information that you provide on your site. It will definitely be added to my favorites. Can’t wait to take the time to read more.
    Keep up the great work.

    Sara, a new fan

    1. Hi there Sara,
      Many thanks for stopping by and reading this post, its greatly appreciated. I hope that you have enjoyed reading about sensory gardens and how they improve people with special needs and aid greatly in their recovery from their conditions.
      Its a great idea and our gratitude must go to the people who thought out these ideas and also to the people who built these with special attention to the sensitivity of these projects.
      As ever feel free to drop by anytime as we are constantly adding new content and regurarly updating our website.
      Thanks again and happy gardening
      Cheers PB

  5. Hi Phil, I accidentally wrote the comment directly on your website. I would appreciate if you accept this text even it is not the actual comment.
    I hope you have a great time and wish you all the best.
    I don’t know what else to write. Maybe this question you can add to my comment.
    What kind of plants do you suggest to plant in a sensory garden?

    1. Hi there Stephan,

      Many thanks for stopping by and reading this post, its greatly appreciated. I wrote this post to give a brief account of what sensory gardens are for and where they are located normally.

      These are located in nursing homes, hospitals, carehomes and in some urban community locations. They are a source of great comfort to people with special needs and like to be outside in nature.

      The plants that are normally grown in these facilities are large bright coloured shrubs, like Hydrangea, some fragrent scented flowers and herbs like lavender, oregano, chives, bamboo, grasses and so on.

      Thanks again for stopping by

      Best wishes    PB

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