Design, Outdoor Living, Tips And Techniques

Landscaping Inspiration: Sensory Gardens

Landscaping inspiration sensory gardens title image

While most gardens look pretty and smell nice, sensory gardens are specifically designed to appeal to all five senses–sight, smell, sound, touch, and taste. This makes them great for getting kids interested in gardens, but they’re also great for adults, too, as they engage different areas of our brains and can elicit a number of different emotions.

In this post, we’re sharing some ideas to help you bring each of your senses into your gardening experience through plants, hardscaping, and artistic elements.

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Our landscape architects are ready to help you create a sensory garden you and your family will love.

Landscaping inspiration sensory gardens sight

Colors and movement are two key things that appeal to our sense of sight, and plants are major players in creating visual appeal in your garden. Flowers with bright colors will help create an exciting atmosphere, while those in more subdued shades, like whites or pastels, will help to promote a sense of peace and calm. Ornamental grasses are an excellent choice for playing with movement, as they sway in the breeze, and canopy trees can bring an element of light and shadow to your outdoor space.

Art pieces are another way of adding visual appeal, and your unique sense of style, to your landscape. Look for pieces that catch the light or move in the breeze.

Landscaping inspiration sensory gardens smell

Plant shopping with your nose might not be the standard, but they do tell us to stop and smell the roses… Lots of flowers boast pleasant scents, and many plants have scented foliage. Here are a few options we love:

  • Hyacinths
  • Peonies
  • Lilacs
  • Catmint
  • Sweet alyssum
  • Roses
  • Dianthus
  • Various herbs

Plant flowers with strong scents near seating areas–or even windows you’ll be opening frequently–to make the most of them.

Landscaping inspiration sensory gardens sound

Water features are an excellent option for bringing sound to the garden, as there’s nothing quite as soothing as the sound of water. From water features that meander across the landscape and drop down short falls to single fountains that bubble amidst a bed of flowers, there’s a wide variety of water features to fit gardens of different sizes.

Other sounds to consider in your landscape include birdsong and the buzz of bees. Incorporate bird feeders and bird baths, as well as pollinator-friendly practices, to make your garden an inviting space for these visitors.

Landscaping inspiration sensory gardens touch

Plants with soft, fuzzy leaves or fluffy-feeling flowers are a fun addition to the landscape, often bringing a sense of whimsy to your outdoor space. Lamb’s ear and fountain grasses are obvious choices, but trees with unique bark structures or the round, bobbing blooms of an allium can also bring a fun textural element to your garden.

Hardscaping elements add textural appeal to your landscape through materials with a wide range of textures. From rough flagstone to smooth pavers, there are endless options that appeal to both touch and sight. Mix and match textures within the same feature to create added interest.

Landscaping inspiration sensory gardens taste

Edible gardening is becoming increasingly popular as people become more interested in where their food comes from. If you’re just starting out growing your own produce, planting in pots on your porch or patio is a great place to begin. Here are some plants that are great for beginners:

  • Leaf lettuces, spinach, and swiss chard
  • Herbs like basil, thyme, and lavender
  • Fruiting plants like peas and cherry tomatoes–be sure to provide plenty of supports and water!

Leafy greens and herbs are some of the easiest edible plants you can grow–but it’s hard to beat a freshly-picked tomato. The best advice we can give: start small with plants that won’t overwhelm you, and have fun watching them grow!

Sensory gardens encourage us to flex our creative muscles and bring something unique to our outdoor living spaces. They help us experience our own backyards in a new way, and they’re great for both kids and adults. Let your imagination run wild, and start experimenting with something new! If you’d like help creating a garden design that incorporates all of your senses, contact our team today to get started.

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