Illustration for article titled How to Create a Sensory GardenPhoto: Hannamariah (Shutterstock)

Gardening and various forms of mindfulness have received more attention over the past year thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, for many people, gardening is a form of mindfulnessGive them the opportunity to take a break from everything else and focus on the here and now of what is happening in their yard. If you want to take this concept to the next level, you might be interested in creating a mind garden. Here’s what it is and how to make one.

Illustration for article titled How to Create a Sensory Garden

What is a sensory garden?

In essence, a sensory garden is exactly what it sounds like: a garden that can be experienced with all five senses (touch, smell, taste, sound and sight). There is no single “formula” for a sensory garden – it is about adding features to a new or existing garden in order to fully involve each visitor and provide them with a complete experience.

How do I create a sensory garden?

Here are some suggestions for sensory garden functions, courtesy of Holly Crossley at Gardening Etc::

Put a fragrant plant at the entry point

Whether it’s a door, the beginning of a path, or part of your balcony, plant something with a scent that you love. Crossly suggests lavender or nepeta (also known as catnip). That way, you immediately get a signal to your brain and body that you are entering another room.

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Install a water feature

This isn’t as intimidating (or expensive) as it sounds – just find a container that comes in a size that will fit your garden. And if your garden is on a balcony, this could be a simple bowl of water. Here’s why Crossly thinks A water feature is worth it:

Water lets sparkling shimmers pour over the property as it reflects the midday sun, welcomes dragonflies, frogs and other wildlife, feels refreshingly cool, and the gentle lapping of a visiting bird taking a bath is sure to be a comforting sound for anyone .

Plant herbs to pick and taste

When the season is right, create a small “tasting area” of your garden with herbs like mint, chives, basil, and spearmint. Then when you visit that part of your garden you can break off a leaf and chew it to get the taste (ideally after rinsing it).

Illustration for article titled How to Create a Sensory Garden

Add some stachys

This velvety soft plant, better known as a “lamb’s ear,” is a great way to add practicality to your sensory garden. “They are a beautiful silver hue and often spikes with purple or white flowers appear in the summer,” writes Crossley. “Literally place them around a seating area or along a path for a soothing touch.”

Make a place to sit and take it all in

Depending on the size of your garden, consider adding a bench or chair if possible. This gives you and your guests a place to sit down, quiet down, and listen to the sounds around you (or the lack of them).

It’s also a place where you can take a break from whatever you’re doing, sit down and look at everything that’s going on in your yard. Crossley recommends placing the bench or chair in a shaded spot and adding a pillow.