Skip to main content

How to create a sensory garden to encourage mindfulness every day

If you’ve ever wondered what a sensory garden is and how to make one, you’re in luck! It’s all about creating a space that engages all the body’s senses. A proper sensory garden ought to attract your sense of smell, sight, taste, and touch. When you build a sensory mindfulness garden, you have a fantastic opportunity to connect with nature and become more aware of your physical surroundings than ever before.

Many who have built mindful spaces say benefits include reduced stress, increased sense of well-being, and a calmer mind. If you’re ready to learn how to build your own sensory mindfulness garden, let’s begin.

Woman Closing Her Eyes Against Sun Light
Photo by Alexandr Podvalny/Pexels

Know what a sensory garden is

Before you can build a sensory garden, you need to know what one is. We gave a bit of a definition above, but let’s clarify further. A sensory garden is a natural space (most often a garden of some sort) designed to engage all your physical senses. You can take an existing flower, botanical, rock/Zen garden, or garden maze and use it to create an outstanding sensory experience in many cases.

Your goal is to make your sensory garden an immersive encounter with nature.

Decide on a theme and layout

As suggested, you can use a previously designed garden layout to create your mindfulness sensory garden. Of course, you can plan it and lay it out from scratch, too, if you want. When planning the theme, most sensory gardens have two things in common. Either they are designed to create a consistent, multi-sensory experience, or they’re made to occupy individual senses at different times of the day or in other locations of the garden itself.

For instance, your garden could have different sensory “zones.” One might engage your sense of sight, while another could be filled with a delightful array of flowering plants that have sweet aromas.

Suppose it’s the multi-sensory experience you’re going for. In that case, you could create an area with plants that have a variety of shapes, textures, sizes, and colors. If there are flowers, you could ensure there are many different colors that complement and contrast. For example, you might include tulips, purple coneflower, alliums, or pelargoniums.

If you don’t have much space, you could use your urban patio or balcony to create a small sensory garden filled with container plants.

Create with imagination

Sensory gardens depend a great deal on their creator’s preferences and personality. Because of that, no two sensory gardens will likely ever be the same. So, here are some elements you can add to spice up gardens that already exist or that you’d like to create.

Place scented plants at the point of entry

Imagine being greeted by a scent you love the moment you enter your garden. How delightful! You can easily place an aromatic flowering plant at the beginning of a trail, out on your terrace, or just inside a doorway. A few plants you may want to consider are catmint or lavender. Both plants almost immediately create a sense of wellness, calm, and relaxation when people smell them.

Put a water feature somewhere in your garden

When some people hear “water feature,” they immediately have a negative reaction. How much will it cost? Is there a lot of construction involved? Will it require much maintenance? However, these concerns are easily overcome. The fact is that water features don’t have to be super expensive. While many do require a modicum of construction (think about gardens with Koi ponds or fountains, for example), you could just as easily include a large ceramic bowl filled with water.

Regardless of the size or type of water feature you decide on, remember that sunlight reflects off the surface. The water is cool to the touch. If the water is moving, it will create tinkling or small gurgling sounds. Birds and other small animals might take baths in it. Think of all the senses that might be engaged by that water feature alone!

Try planting herbs you can taste

In keeping with engaging all the senses, plant various herbs you can pick and taste. By way of example, some people plant specific sections in their sensory gardens filled with herbs like spearmint, rosemary, thyme, basil, and chives. Not only can you break off a few leaves and chew them as you meander through your garden, but you can also come back and collect whatever you need to season your evening’s dinner!

Woman Holding Brown Basket With Yellow Flowers
Photo by Jill Wellington/Pexels

Be mindful in your garden

One of the purposes of a sensory garden is not just to engage your senses. Many people build a sensory garden to encourage mindfulness. The very act of taking care of plants and maintaining the garden can be a form of meditation. A sense of well-being, calmness, and a connection to earth can help foster a healthy mind.

Alternatively, just sitting in your garden while allowing the sun to shine down and the breeze to caress your skin can be transformative. So, take a deep breath and tune in to your surroundings. You’ll be glad you did.

Editors' Recommendations

Will Blesch
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Will Blesch is a copywriter, content writer, and someone passionate about anything that lets him discover more about this…
Use these 7 tips to build an outdoor kitchen on a budget
outdoor eating space

Outdoor kitchens are quickly becoming one of the most coveted features in a home. Not only have the last few years taught us to love the space we're in, but it's encouraged us to spend more time in our outdoor living spaces. An outdoor kitchen is an excellent way to enjoy the fresh air while hosting a party or just cooking dinner for the family.

Unfortunately, outdoor kitchens can be an intimidating project to take on. Once you consider all the features like cooking station, countertops, plumbing, electric, seating, and more, you can see how it can be an expensive addition to a home. However, it's important to remember that an outdoor kitchen can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be. Here are our tips for staying on budget while creating the perfect outdoor kitchen for you and your family.
Planning for success
The most essential part of any project is planning. Without a clear plan, it's likely that your project will go off the rails, over budget, and might never be finished. We recommend taking the time to assess your current space and create a wish list. This might mean going onto Pinterest or Houzz to find some inspiration photos or pulling from your own imagination to create the perfect space for you. Either way, make a plan, write it down, and set a game plan.

Read more
Good, better, best: Outdoor sheds for garden storage
Garden storage shed

Once you start to hunker down on the gardening life, you’ll eventually find yourself in need of space to store all of your planting tools. Luckily, plenty of garden storage sheds exist out there. Still, having a host of choices can be overwhelming, in and of itself! If you have limited garage space or don’t want to go back into the house every time you need to grab your supplies, an outdoor garden shed may just be what you need. Ahead, we break down three choices for the top picks out there and give them a good, better, best ranking to help you choose one that suits your home and needs.
Good: Rubbermaid Horizontal Storage Shed
The Rubbermaid Horizontal Storage Shed is a good choice when you’ve accumulated quite a few garden supplies but don’t need a full-blown shed yet. It has a convenient, horizontal size at 34 x 55 x 28 inches, the perfect dimensions for storing your fertilizers, pruning scissors, gloves, watering cans, sprays, and other tools. The construction is also high-quality—it’s made from a water-resistant resin material and features double-walled construction that resists leaking and denting.

Because it’s essentially plastic, this outdoor garden shed resists rot, mold, and insect damage as well. At $230, you get a high-quality product that can compactly store supplies for a small garden, and the assembly shouldn’t take you any longer than half an hour. The drawback is that it is relatively modest in size, so you’ll need extra storage when you expand your gardening toolkit. And while it can accommodate a lock and some shelving, you’ll need to purchase those items separately. Some reviewers have mentioned slight warping when you leave the shed outside for too long, so be careful about extreme temperatures!

Read more
What you should be cooking in your outdoor kitchen this October
Pizza spinach

Now that the weather is cooling down, it’s time to fire up the grill in your outdoor kitchen one last time before it gets too cold for outside gatherings. Luckily, there’s no shortage of delicious recipes that take advantage of fresh autumn harvests. In addition to the herbs that you planted in the late summer, you can also whip up meals with all the gourds, leafy veggies, and fruits that you might have in your garden right now. From an herb-stuffed fish as your main dish to sweet grilled apples and pears as dessert, we’ve rounded up the most delicious autumn recipes to try in your outdoor kitchen this October.

Fresh salad with kale, spinach, and arugula
Veggies such as kale, spinach, and arugula do well for early autumn harvests, and they‘re also excellent salad bases. For some autumnal flair, chop up and roast root veggies such as sweet potatoes or beets. Pop in the protein of your choice—chicken breast and tofu are easy go-to's that you can heat up quickly on your grill. To use even more of your garden goods, add herbs such as tarragon and rosemary to enhance the dressing or vinaigrette for your fresh salad.
Barbecued carrots
Barbecued food doesn't only have to be summer fare. A great autumnal recipe for your outdoor kitchen is barbecued carrots with some toasted pecans. After coating your carrots in oil and grilling them for around 20 minutes, toss them in a dressing with vinegar, soy sauce, fresh herbs, garlic, and ginger. Add in toasted pecans or the nuts of your choice for extra texture and flavor. Obviously, carrots aren’t the only veggies that you can grill—you can try cooking broccoli, corn, and more! Grilled veggies make for easy and delicious side dishes that will surely win over your guests.
Grilled fish with lemon and herbs
Fish with lemon and herbs is one of the most laidback recipes you can prepare for your autumn soirées. It’s uncomplicated, but still filling and flavorful. All you need to do is stuff the fish of your choice with lemon, garlic, and herbs. Then, drizzle oil on your fish and leave it on the grill for six minutes or so on each side. Fresh herbs that work perfectly for this dish include parsley, thyme, and dill—whatever is handy in your herb garden!

Read more