How to Design A Sensory Garden Part 5: Touch

by Leah Heiser, Flowerscape Director

fountain grasses

Fountain grass offers plumes that are soft to the touch.

This post is the last of a 5-part series to offer suggestions on designing a sensory garden. The flower suggestions here will appeal to the sensory garden design for touch.

Plants that look so interesting that your urge is to touch them. Or, leaves and petals that have to be touched, rubbed or crushed to create their smell are fun your garden experience.

Appeal to Touch

Lambs ear, Artimesia, ornamental grasses with big  plumes like the fountain grass, and pussy willows offer a soft texture.

Herbs, like mints*, rosemary and basil, and the leaves of scented geraniums give off stronger smells when touched rubbed or crushed. So it’s fun to add these to your garden so that you can use your hands, beyond garden maintenance, in order to really enhance your garden experience.

Creating Your Oasis With Other Features

Apart from including trees and shrubs of various textures, look for other ways to stimulate a tactile response. Water features add relaxing sound a beauty, Stones, moss, mulch and other accents have varied textures that can stimulate a sense of touch in various ways.

alexander park

Alexander Park’s water fountain is a Keep Akron Beautiful favorite.

pink hibiscus

Pink Hibiscus growing in the Alexander Park Flowerscape.

Don’t forget to include a sitting area so that you can immerse yourself fully in the garden while sipping your Hibiscus tea made from the plants petals or Echinacea tea made from the entire Purple Coneflower (petals, leaves and stem) harvested from your own organic sensory garden.

So now that I have talked about how to design for the five senses and offered plant selections for each sense, let me close by saying:

Engaging the senses has benefits for everyone, whether it helps you to relax, is a fun space for children to play or just encourages people to be out in the garden! The great thing about sensory gardens is that elements can be incorporated into any space, with all five senses able to be dispersed throughout the garden or concentrated in a dedicated sensory area.

I hope you have all enjoyed reading and feel inspired to create a healing space in your garden by appealing to your five senses.

*Be aware that mint plants can spread and overtake your garden, so plant in the ground inside a plastic pot with drainage in order to control the spread of its roots.

Re-read past sensory garden blogs:

How to Design a Sensory Garden Part 1: Sight
How to Design a Sensory Garden Part 2: Smell
How to Design a Sensory Garden Part 3: Sound
How to Design a Sensory Garden Part 4: Taste

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