Creating a Garden for the Senses to Aid Relaxation

When planning your garden, have you ever wondered if you're only focusing on the visual aspect and neglecting other senses? What if we told you that incorporating features that appeal to your other senses could lead to a more immersive and relaxing experience? Not only that, but it may also have an uplifting effect on your body. Find out how appealing to all your senses can transform your garden into a sensory paradise.

Here’s some ideas of features to include in your garden:


Sounds to Hear

Have you ever dreamed of creating a garden oasis that transports you to a tranquil and peaceful place? Adding the soothing sound of water to your garden can be the perfect way to achieve that. Not only does it create a calming ambiance, but it also masks unwanted background noise from nearby traffic, loud children, or industrial sounds.

To create the perfect water feature, choose one that allows you to regulate the speed of the water until you find the right pitch to disguise any unwanted noise. Avoid a fast speed, as it can create fraught feelings and seem overpowering. Instead, opt for a gentle trickle that is most appealing to the ear. For a more natural look and sound, consider adding a feature where water trickles over natural stones. This creates slightly different tones if the water changes direction slightly within the breeze, making the experience even more mesmerising.

Even if you are not trying to mask unwanted noise, the sound of a gentle flow of water with a similar tone to a babbling brook can always help you relax. It creates a serene atmosphere that feels like an escape from the busy outside world.

To enhance the auditory experience in your garden, add tall grasses such as Miscanthus or bamboo to an exposed bed. The wind blowing through these plants creates a gentle swishing sound that is perfect for relaxation. It feels like you are in the middle of a peaceful meadow, surrounded by nature's harmonious sounds. By creating a natural environment, you will also attract a variety of birds. Who can resist the beautiful song of a blackbird. 

Wind chimes are another great addition to your garden's soundscapes, but be careful with the type you choose. Wind chimes at the right resonance can be very easy on the ear, but they can also be controversial. The sound of wind chimes is appealing to some, but it can be irritating to others. To find the perfect tone that relaxes you personally, listen to various types with your eyes closed. It may vary from the lightest tinkle of a metal wind chime to the earthy tones associated with wooden features. With the right combination of water features, natural sounds, and wind chimes, your garden can become a haven of tranquility, where you can relax and unwind from the stresses of everyday life.

Fragrances to Smell

Our sense of smell is a powerful tool that can transport us back to memories we thought were long forgotten. The aroma of certain plants can act as a time machine, taking us back to happy moments in our past. For instance, the scent of tomato plants can remind us of helping our grandparents in their greenhouse as children, while the fragrance of jasmine can bring us back to an idyllic holiday location. By creating a garden that stimulates our sense of smell, we can easily access these happy memories and find instant relaxation.

There are plenty of fragrant plants that we can use to trigger these memories. Classic floral fragrances like lavender, rose, and honeysuckle are perfect for taking us back to childhood visits with older relatives. Remember mixing rose petals with water to make perfume as a child? Dianthus is a headier scent, while night-scented stocks and tobacco plants can fill the air with evening fragrance. Lilac bushes also emit a delicate aroma in the evenings. By planting these in a location where we brush past them while walking in the garden, we can release their fragrance into the air and immediately be transported back to happy moments from our past.

We can also generate woodland scents by digging over planting beds and using bark on the surface as mulch. When combined with the gentle trickle of water, this creates the impression of a forest stream flowing through the trees. The smell of freshly cut grass is another powerful memory trigger, reminiscent of fresh summer mornings. Hanging bedsheets outside soon after cutting the grass can help us capture this invigorating aroma.

It's worth noting that even unpleasant smells can evoke happy memories. The pungent odourr of manure on roses can remind us of living near a farm or holidaying in a rural location. Burning logs on a fire pit can take us back to cosy autumn and winter nights spent with family, perhaps with an older relative tending an open fire. By harnessing the power of our sense of smell, we can create a garden that not only looks beautiful but also acts as a time machine, helping us to unwind and reconnect with happy moments from our past.

Produce to Taste

While a dedicated vegetable patch in your garden is always a treat, you can still enjoy growing some fruits and vegetables even if you have limited space. A great way to do this is by incorporating them into your existing planting borders and pots.

Tumbling and shrub varieties of cherry tomatoes are not only delicious, but also add a touch of charm and colour to your garden when grown in pots. Additionally, growing herbs in pots on your patio is both convenient and aesthetically pleasing. You'll have access to fresh herbs when you need them for cooking, and you'll love the fragrance that wafts through the air whenever you brush past them.

Adding a few fruit bushes such as raspberries, blackcurrants, and gooseberries at the back of a border can provide a bountiful harvest during the summer months. A small cordon fruit tree bearing apples, pears, or plums is also a great option if you have room. It not only adds interest to your garden but also yields delicious fruit for your enjoyment.

If space is tight, consider growing a few vegetables in small corners of your planting beds. Grouping beetroot, leeks, and spring onions in groups of five or seven will add to the overall foliage in your garden. And why not try growing carrots in feature pots with their delicate, feathery foliage adding an attractive touch to your garden while providing you with delicious produce at the same time.


Textures to Feel

Adding different textures to your garden can make it a more stimulating and engaging space. Even if you don't plan on touching everything, having a variety of textures can create a unique ambiance. Incorporating plants with delicate foliage like Acer Palmatum is a great option. The feathered foliage of this specimen adds a touch of elegance to your garden. Pennisetum grasses are another good choice, with their soft, almost mouselike seed heads that sway gently in the breeze. Deschampsia tenuissima is another tactile grass with soft golden green stems that look best when planted in groups. And if you want to make a statement, try coupling it with the tall regent stems of allium bulbs.

For a candyfloss-like appearance, Astilbe is an excellent option with its white or pink flower heads that look best when planted in groups. Stachys Byzantine, also known as Lamb's Ear, is another excellent choice for its velvety soft, tactile silvery leaves. Ferns are a great addition to shadier areas of your garden, with their long textured fronds that have an almost prehistoric feel to them.

It's not just plants that can add texture to your garden. Hard landscaping features like old gnarled wood can make for excellent sculptural pieces that add depth to your planting borders. Rusty metal like corten steel adds an earthy feel and a good base colour to offset your planting's colour scheme. The soft rusty tones offer a velvety goodness to your landscape.

When it comes to paving, consider the type that works well with your design. Smooth sawn sandstone or porcelain can create a calming influence, while rustic slate provides a rough texture. Cobble setts create a cosy and nostalgic feeling, while timber or composite decking provide a warmer, cabin-like appearance. Think about how you want the paving to feel underfoot.

Different aggregates can also provide texture to your planting borders. Rounded pebbles can create a zen-like feel, and incorporating them with larger boulders can add a 3D effect. Chunky bark mulch is also an excellent choice for an earthy feel and works well with beds containing ferns as a backdrop to lush green foliage. Adding a variety of textures to your garden can create a unique and stimulating environment that engages all the senses.

Colours to See

The art of colour schemes can elevate your garden design to a whole new level. To bring life and energy to the foreground of your garden, opt for bold, bright shades. These vibrant colours are perfect for capturing attention and adding excitement to your outdoor space. For a calming effect, cool shades like blue, silver, and lilac in the background create an illusion of depth and distance, making the garden appear more spacious and expansive.

Creating different zones in your garden allows you to tailor your outdoor experience to your current mood. Whether you want to relax in a tranquil corner or bask in the sun on a vibrant lawn, your garden can provide the perfect setting to rejuvenate your spirits.

To make your planting truly pop, use hard landscaping features to complement your plants. For example, a black background like aggregate, fencing, or walling, can make green plants appear even more vivid and alive. Dark grey tones in your hardscaping can work with silver foliage and white plants for a cooler, more calming garden.

Lighting is a fantastic way to enhance the ambience of your garden and make it a showstopper in the evening. Subtle green lighting in a planting border can enhance the foliage colours, while warm amber lighting creates an inviting atmosphere. Blue lighting is perfect for highlighting water features and making them look clean and refreshing. Uplighters can be used to focus on specific features such as a tree, while small lights wrapped around a tree trunk can create a magical, enchanted feel. For a subtle, delicate touch, add fairy lights to a tree canopy.

We hope these ideas are interesting to you and would love to help you more.