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How to Create a Sensory Garden

Updated on August 24, 2012

Colour Provides Great Visual Impact


Creating a Garden to Appeal to All Five Senses

Gardens not only provide a frame for a home, they can also be a retreat, a playground and an outdoor room. A well tended garden appeals to the eye, however it can also be appealing to the other four senses. That's when you have a garden which looks, smells, sounds, tastes and feels great. Here are some ideas on making that happen.

1. Sight

To make your garden look good, usually planning is involved. Whether you do this yourself or employ a professional, it is worth the time and trouble. When planning a garden you need to consider:

Style: Lots of different plants and trees or one consistent theme as well as the incorporation of fences, ornaments, pots, murals, bar-b-ques if wanted.

Light: Should the garden be focussed on maximising sun or maximising shade, or both at different times of the year?

Practical issues: Is there a need for drought, heat, cold or flood tolerant plants? How much room is available will influence the choice of trees and plants.

Colour and Form: Will there be a colour theme for the garden? What mixture of different size trees and plants will make a pleasing array?

Blending all of the above should result in a garden that is good to look at.

2. Scent

Adding fragrant trees, shrubs and flowers to a garden can create a scent-sory delight. Some options for trees and shrubs are:

Citrus, Magnolia, Loquat, Flowering Cherry, Flowering Apricot, Flowering Plum, Chinese Witchhazel, Flowering currants, Lilacs, Gardenia, Mock orange (Philadelphus coronarius), Crabapple, Mexican orange blossom (Choisya ternata), Frangipani, Eucalyptus Gums, Pine, Fir, Spruce and Cedar trees.

Fragant plants, flowers and herbs include: Jasmine, Daylilies, Gingers, Belladonna, Lavender, Thyme, Mint, Lemon Verbena, Basil, Rosemary, Hyacinth, Daffodils, Bluebells, Roses, Iris, Freesias, Lily of the valley, honeysuckle, wisteria and more.

For extensive lists of fragrant flora see, and

3. Sound

Some people would say that the best sound a garden can have is none - silence! However the natural songs of birds and insects can also be very welcome. Grow plants native to your area to attract this orchestra of nature. If space and budget permits, a water feature can also add a soothing backdrop to any garden.


4. Taste

Fruit, vegetables and herbs grown in your own garden have an abundance of taste. Consider planting a few fruit trees and starting a vegetable patch. Even if you only have a courtyard or a balcony for a garden, you can grow a great deal in pots. Many fruit trees are now available in minature or espaliered form enabling you to make the most of walls and small areas.

5. Touch

Planting and maintaining a garden of whatever size provides a great opportunity to be in touch with the earth. Getting your hands dirty and being able to harvest your own flowers, fruit, vegetables and herbs gives you a new appreciation of the textures of freshly picked produce. This is often pretty different from that you buy in the supermarket. Feeling the sun on your face, the wind in your hair and grass beneath your feet is good for you.

So the next time you need to establish or renovate a garden, think about what you can add to make it a sensory delight. This quote really says it well:

The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses. ~Hanna Rion

Floral Perfection



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    • JanHeath profile image

      JanHeath 5 years ago from Australia

      Thanks vocalcoach, I agree, gardening is special. And hugs are always good!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 5 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      An inspiring and lovely hub! Gardening fulfills something within me. It's hard to explain. Even if I am only watering my plants and vegetables I feel good. At times I welcome my day by saying "Good Morning" to all of my colorful friends. I even go so far as to tell each one how well they are doing.

      What do you expect from a person that goes around hugging trees? :-)

      Voting up, useful, awesome, interesting!

    • davenmidtown profile image

      David Stillwell 6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      I am hoping that my community garden will follow your example.

    • JanHeath profile image

      JanHeath 6 years ago from Australia

      Thanks for the comments everyone, I'm glad it's been useful. Garden sculptures are a great idea too.

    • VirginiaLynne profile image

      Virginia Kearney 6 years ago from United States

      Great hub idea. We have a very full sensory garden here in Texas. We went to a very unique garden recently in San Antonio which actually had a section for Blind people--everything planted was able to be touched, smelled, tasted etc. They even had sculptures which were meant to be appreciated by touch--such a unique idea. Great hub.

    • Deborah-Diane profile image

      Deborah-Diane 6 years ago from Orange County, California

      I love the idea of a sensory garden. I really enjoy spending time outdoors, so this sounds lovely.

    • davenmidtown profile image

      David Stillwell 6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      What a great hub! I can not wait to share this with my team. We created a tactile garden for the kids last year but this is where I want to go. Thank you for the beautiful inspiration.