Designing The Sensory Garden

The Sensory Garden

A garden should stimulate all the senses. Imagine spending an afternoon casually strolling through a garden that is full of enticing aromas, is pleasant to the touch, a feast for the eyes, delicious with an undertone of sound bringing it all together.

In order to enter the garden you walk through a trellis that is covered with a climbing rose. The rose will depend upon where you live, but the blush nosette is an example.

You proceed along a garden path that is a minimum of 36 inches wide and is made from wood with a layer of granite underneath. The slope of the path is gentle.

If you wish you can use a groundcover for areas where people will walk that will handle the traffic and release a soft fragrance as people pass over the area. The plants that will work best for this area are; creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum) or low growing mint (Mentha requienii) which makes a fragrant carpet in the shade. There are other possibilities so do a little research and find what works best for yoru site.

Wind chimes are strategically placed throughout the garden. How many is related to the garden size; you do want the sound to be overpowering but you do want it be heard.

A water feature such as a pond with a small water fall brings both sight and sound into play. You can add water plants and a few fish to increase the effect.

Ornamental grasses will also provide a feast for the eyes even in the winter when the seed pods form.

You will also find the perennial beds provide visual pleasure in their blooming season but also in the winter when their seed pods are ready. The seed heads of some perennials, for example, .Rudbeckia (Black-Eyed Susan), Echinacea, Achillea, and Buddleia) also provide food for the birds over the winter months.

The birds all through the year add flow, colour and song to the garden as do bees and butterflies.

Your integration of native plants into your design will draw bees and butterflies which add living colour and a quiet buzz to the ambiance.

Located along the pathways and throughout the garden are a variety of herbs and flowers that delight the touch, there are a number of plants with different textures that you can choose from.

For example:

· rough - comfrey leaves

· feathery - fennel

· smooth - ivy, iris leaves

· spongy - clumps of moss

· papery - honesty seeds

· Soft - orange hawkweed leaves, coltsfoot, foxtail grass, thyme, buttercup petals, meadowsweet flowers, clover flowers.

You can enhance the olfactory experience by selecting from a number of herbs and scented flowers.

Combine scent and touch with herbs, whose leaves may be crushed to release the aroma, for example, – mint, lemon balm, thyme, rosemary, sage, curry plant, bergamot, fennel, wild garlic. You can diversify your choices by adding any woundwort, sweet cicily or tansy.

When it comes to fragrant flowers consider these night-scented stock, sweet violet, evening primrose, bluebell, orange hawkweed, honeysuckle, clover, gorse, carnation.

Grow edible flowers such as Johnny jump ups and borage in containers so that they can be readily plucked and tasted.

A garden that appeals to the sense can be accessible to everyone and provide your visitors with a sensual getaway from the concrete and asphalt world so many of us inhabit.

sensory garden tour

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Comments 15 comments

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America

Gee, but I like the total-senses approach a lot! Thanks for the ideas and the good video.

kerryg profile image

kerryg 8 years ago from USA

GREAT hub! I like the full senses approach too. My favorite tree in the world is the ponderosa pine, which unfortunately doesn't grow well in my area. :( It has beautiful orange bark that looks like puzzle pieces and smells like vanilla.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Thanks for stopping by both of you.

jimmythejock profile image

jimmythejock 8 years ago from Scotland

nice information Bob, Thanks for sharing.....jimmy

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

My pleasure, thanks for stopping by.

compu-smart profile image

compu-smart 8 years ago from London UK

I like your garden ideas! I have always dreamed of having my own garden rented ot otherwise and when i do i have some really good tips

C.S.Alexis profile image

C.S.Alexis 8 years ago from NW Indiana


you sure did get my imagination going. I wonder what the flood water and pollution has done to our ground. We had the terrible flood and the water was contaminated with sewage. It was standing for almost a week in the garden. Do you have any Suggestions on the pollution?

I will have to redo everything come spring. I will try my best to model the next one after the suggestions in this hub. Great Job here. C.S.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Thanks compu-smart.

C.S. pollution/sewage. let me get back to you on that.

C.S.Alexis profile image

C.S.Alexis 8 years ago from NW Indiana

I will keep an eye peeled, C.S.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Look for a hub on it in a day or two.

marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

I think sweet and pungent smells from the garden to bring indoors when we can is one of the best parts of being involved with nature. I always find the smells of flowers and plants to be so comforting, even energizing, depending on the aroma.

I have fond memories of wind chimes, tho I have to shop for just the right sound as certain pitches annoy me, but the soft tinkle, when found is nearly hypnotic and relaxing. Thanks for taking me away for a few minutes with this hub!

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

You are welcome mariesue, I agree about wind chimes and i am looking for a set that are just right to place about half way down the yard.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick Author

C.S. the hub will be up Friday afternoon.

future gardener 4 years ago

nice and helpful! :) like it!

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 4 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Thanks and thanks for visiting.

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