Sensory gardens are intimate spaces designed to help people experience and enjoy outdoor environments to the fullest. These type of gardens provide peaceful escapes and a sense of well-being from day-to-day stress and challenges. When selecting landscape features for your sensory garden, the best place to start is with the five senses.
The first impression of a landscape is how it looks. It only takes a moment to get your first impression. Initially, we scan our surroundings for overall color, composition, patterns, and shapes. By adding certain colors, we can create increased energy, calmness, cheerfulness, or sense of comfort.
We all know that advertising companies use color to trigger emotions for increased sales. So, why not use the power of color to create a preferred feeling or mood for our outdoor living spaces? With just a few adjustments, it’s simple to create the perfect outdoor space for your desired mood and ambiance.
For further reading about color, see our blog Setting the Mood.
Sound is often overlooked or goes unnoticed in landscape design. Is there a particular sound you are looking for, or an absence of sound? These are good questions to consider when incorporating sound elements into your landscape. Some people enjoy absolute quite while others prefer the sound of trickling water, songbirds, or soft music in the background.
Incorporating fragrant plants throughout the landscape creates an uplifting effect. Scent and fragrances are closely linked to our memories and can positively awaken our senses. Try placing fragrant flowering plants near entrances and under bedroom windows to experience a sweet whiff of flowers on a warm summer evening.
When you were a child, you most likely heard the phrase “don’t touch that!” Beyond curiosity, I’m not sure what gives us the uncontrollable urge to touch and feel, but touch can add a rich dimension to your landscape. Texture and touch can be added to the landscape through the use of plants, pebbles, artwork, giant boulders, smooth glass, metal, and more.
Incorporate edibles into your landscape. It may takes a bit of effort, but the outcome is delicious! Many people get stuck in a rut growing edibles in the traditional neat and tidy rows. Try intermixing tasty herbs, berries, and vegetables in raised planting beds along pathways and outdoor dining areas. There is nothing more satisfying than harvesting home-grown edibles!
Balancing the 5 Sensory Design Elements
Balancing sensory design elements is a powerful tool that can transform your garden into a peaceful and therapeutic escape. It is not necessary to awaken the five senses all at the same time, but if you do, achieving the right balance does take some finesse.
Please keep in mind that the art and science of sensory design may be complex depending on who your audience is such as, people with special needs or memory loss.
If you are not sure where to start, BauerCombs Landscape Architects would love to help. Give us a call at (425) 496-7772 or schedule a 20-minute phone visit with us. Our studio is located in beautiful North Bend, Washington (a hiker's haven just outside the metropolitan areas of Seattle, Bellevue, and Issaquah).
BauerCombs is an award-winning landscape architecture firm that specializes in designing sensory gardens in the greater Seattle area and across the United States. With our signature sensory design methods, we create captivating landscapes that bring life to outdoor spaces through the artistic balance of sight, color, scent, touch, taste, and sound. Our work has been published in several magazines and continues to grow in reputation for creating healthy outdoor environments for people and communities.
To learn more about BauerCombs and our design tips, we invite you to download our free ebook.
Author: Susan Combs Bauer, Landscape Architect, Copyright © 2019 BauerCombs & Associates, Inc. www.bauercombs.com (425) 496-7772
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