Treating the senses by packing green spaces full of sensory delights can be great for older people and children. Here are five practical ideas on how to transform your garden into a sensory space, using clever planting, beautiful accessories and a few key features.
- Planting that’s a feast for the eyes
So your garden is a pleasurable paradise for those who have visual impairments or perhaps don’t see colours as vividly as they once did, it’s key to get your planting right. That means big, bold blooms, plenty of contrast in colour and texture, and selecting flowers with the sweetest of scents. Phlox Paniculata meets all these demands – easy to care for and with stunning, large clusters of deep lilac and hot pink, Phlox also smell divine.
Alternatively, how about the lovely swaying heads of allium plants? Different varieties grow to different sizes and with their own level of purple saturation. Rhododendrons are another generous bloom, filling large spaces with pinks, purples and reds.
- Spring to life with running water
Running water brings a fresh liveliness to a garden, as well as the sound of life and activity. There are many lovely water features on the market, from elegant contemporary spheres to traditional tinkling fountains. Or, how about a miniature stream traversing the beds and rockery to provide your whole garden with a tumbling, gurgling soundtrack?
- Bring music to your ears
Make use of the British breeze and invest in a few wind chimes to introduce some auditory intrigue to the outdoor environment. Alternatively, simply call upon Mother Nature herself to provide the musical backdrop. Set out bird boxes and keep them replenished with nuts and seeds to attract wildlife. You’ll soon find you’re sharing the garden with a host of musical minstrels – blackbirds, robins, warblers, greenfinches, song thrushes, wrens and chaffinches are just a few of the birds who will join the chorus at your home.
- Taste the difference
As well as bringing plants closer to the eyes of those with visual difficulties, raised planters packed with fragrant and flavoursome herbs can be a great way to give the old and young alike access to a tasty treat or two. Similarly, beautiful flowers can offer twice the sensory pleasure if they’re also edible. Take your pick (literally) from Alpine Pinks, with their clove-like flavour, or the spicy leaves of Bergamot. Sunflowers are known for their edible seeds and petals, while certain varieties of rose taste just as sweet as they smell.
- Build a path to pleasure
The pleasing sound of quality gravel crunching underfoot, smooth pebbles to pick up and hold in the palm of your hand or the contrast of deep grey slate against vibrant green grass. The materials you choose to build your garden path will all deliver their own sensory benefits. If there's a risk of slipping, permeable paving could be a good choice as it allows water to drain away from the surface, leaving your walkway safer.
Transforming your garden into a rich, sensory space that everyone can enjoy, no matter their age is extremely satisfying; a creative challenge, so to speak. By adding some clever ideas to the mix and investing in a few quality products, you’ll soon find your garden is a treat for all the senses.