All landscapes are to some degree sensory but some are more sensory than others. Quality sensory garden design comes from the integration and concentration of different sensory experiences, this is what truly defines a sensory garden.
Sensory gardens are designed around a theme, some are passive, others restful and some are designed to stimulate activity to be used within therapeutic or educational programmes.
Sensory Gardens can be divided into three categories:
- Sensory Garden: a self contained area that concentrates a wide range of sensory experiences. These are mainly used for education and recreation.
- Sensory Trails: These provide a range of experiences along a particular route or path and are often associated with movement.
- Enriching the overall landscape: Sites that are diverse and easily accessible lend themselves to developing an overall sensory theme as opposed to concentrating on a particular area.
1. PLANNING THE GARDEN
Successful sensory garden design relies on a clear idea of what you are aiming to create, why you are doing it, who it's for and how it's going to happen.
- Who is the garden for.
- How will the garden be used.
- What resources do you have.
- How will the Garden be maintained
- How will the project be managed.
2. DESIGNING A SENSORY GARDEN
There are key design principles that underpin the design of any sensory garden so that it can be enjoyed by the widest range of people and in the ways intended.
- Access and useability
- Sensory experience
- Robust Design
3. DESIGN IDEAS AND INSPIRATION
It is worth remembering that there are many sensory experiences we have that are not formally categorised as one of the main five, for example a sense of balance, temperature, space and enclosure.
- Orientation, gravity and balance
- Cause and effect
- Mood and ambience
4. PLANTS FOR SENSORY GARDENS
Plants need to fulfil different roles in a sensory garden. While they will usually be the stars of the show in terms of providing sensory interest, they will also be responsible for functional things like shelter from cold winds, shady respite from summer sun and enclosure for a quiet space.
- Plants for shade
- Plants for shelter
- Seasonal Interest
- Plants for reminiscence
- Plants for celebration
- Plants to attract wildlife
- Plants to avoid