When we think about creating a family garden we tend to focus on the visual aspect. But it can be so much more than that. Creating a sensory garden provides a holistic experience that stimulates each of the senses. It will give you a more mindful, creative and enjoyable space.
Sight is perhaps the easiest of the senses to stimulate. The challenge lies in how to narrow down your choices and choose plants, colors, furniture, etc. that complement and enhance your outdoor space. Opt for unexpected visual stimulation. For example, create a pond and introduce beautiful colorful fish like koi. You can find koi for sale online, many of which can be placed on next-day delivery. Or introduce unexpected plants and grasses. Mirrors also add an unexpected dimension. They play with the idea of space and reflect back certain aspects of the garden, depending on where you’re standing.
You can introduce music to your garden, no matter how small it is. Much of the sound will come from the wind, and so it’s important to think about how this can be channeled. Plant trees and grasses that are known for their sound quality. Wind chimes can also create beautiful sound and provide an ambient background. And there is nothing more calming than the sound of trickling water. Adding a pond or water feature to your backyard will fill it with soft, soothing notes.
Another creative way of introducing sound is to attract a variety of birds and wildlife. This is relatively straightforward to achieve by choosing plants and trees carefully and researching which seeds attract which bird species, etc. During the summer months, rising early before it gets light and listening to the dawn chorus is a mindful and relaxing way to begin the day.
The smell can be stimulated by creating pockets of scented plants and flowers within your garden. Plant some of them close to your home to allow the scents to waft inside when the windows are open. Plants known for their beautiful scents include Lavender, Lemon Balm, Rosemary, and Gardenia.
Soft, fuzzy plants, grasses and leaves invite you to run your fingers through them. Varieties include Lamb’s Ears, Dusty Miller, and Licorice. Often the act of touch helps to disperse their seeds to further their reach.
There’s never been a better time to grow your own produce. This is an activity that the whole family can enjoy, regardless of the space, you have available. Herbs and tomatoes etc. can be grown easily in pots. Or you could take it to the next level, introducing a greenhouse and raised beds. Nothing tastes better than the first tomato of the season. You’ll never go back to store-bought produce again. We’re so used to the tastes of supermarket fruit and vegetables; that homegrown produce is a revelation.
When planning your garden for next year, don’t just focus on the visual element. Find creative ways to stimulate each of the senses to build a holistic sensory experience.