Sensory Garden
When I think about a sensory garden, I think about an all-inclusive space that has both the accessibility and inclusion in to the experience, and how we can relate and create a rich experiences that offers our children and those of us that need to have more enriching sharing experience.
The experience should have a focus on educational and recreation so that everybody shares in the sensory activities. So hospitals or respite can offer designs can be purely passive and the design will reflect this logic.
Sensory Gardens
 
Sensory Gardens
Quiet time
The style of experience should allow the client to experience the natural world and develop social skills, connection to nature and physically have engaging things to do. Creating spaces of calm and rest are vital in creating a sensory experience. This calm space is their processing time and should not be underestimated in terms of design and experience.
 
Sensory Gardens
The Elements
Designing a sensory space requires a response that reaches out to the client’s families and occupational workers to find the key elements that unify an all-inclusive experience package. I can see in the future that to design all parks and gardens that there should be more communication between all relevant groups to ensure that everybody is included in the conversation. I feel we missed an opportunity to bring this in to our communities in terms of all the playground that have been created in th e last few years.
 
The design process
The design is the consultation between all parties involved, so you can get qa clear idea how the space will be used. At this stage we will look at hard landscaping options and soft landscaping styles. Look at how it might develop in time. Where are the areas of sun and shade in the space and how can you incorporate the five senses in to the design. How can you create interesting small spaces within your space? What is the accessibility like? Some key features when creating a sensory experience;
  • Accessible wheelchair use
  • Sensory experience swings veg growing, climbing stimulation, observing, shaded areas activity areas water activity areas inclusive play zones
  • Touch smell, hear taste.
  • Areas of rest for both families and clients
  • Quiet zones of sounds and nature
  • Interactive eco design willow arbours etc.
  • Plants with fragrance.
  • Plants with colour.
  • Wildlife areas.
  • Raised beds.
  • Water features.
  • Sculptures.
  • Veg garden.
Sensory Gardens Sensory Gardens
Maintenance
It’s important that the design is easy to maintain so this needs to be though out, and that paths and edges are easy to maintain.
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Sean Keighran
NBG RHS Garden Designer / Consultant