Creating a sensory garden around your home can provide a great way to enjoy the outdoors while also stimulating your five senses. Sight, Smell, Sound, Taste, and Touch should all be enjoyed in a sensory garden, making it a great place to relax and entertain guests.

Here are ways to create a sensory garden for your own home, enjoyable in its care and experience!

Table of Contents

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7 Steps to Creating a Sensory Garden for Your Home

  1. Choose the Right Location
  2. Select Plants that Appeal to Your Senses
  3. Incorporate Water Features
  4. Integrate Sound Features Like Wind Chimes
  5. Add Seating and Other Amenities
  6. Use Lighting Wisely
  7. Don’t Forget the Finishing Touches

Sensory Garden with a large unique wooden bench


Choose the Right Location

When selecting a location for your sensory garden, consider areas that get plenty of sunlight and have good drainage. Raised beds or containers are ideal for plants that require well-drained soil.

Plants in Raised Beds in an Urban Backyard Sensory Garden

Your choice should be made with future plans in mind, as well, such as incorporating more privacy and hardscaping features at a later date.


Select Plants that Appeal to Your Senses

To create a truly sensory experience, choose plants that offer visual interest, fragrant flowers, textured leaves, and interesting fruit or seeds. Consider planting a variety of annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees to provide year-round interest. And of course, you will want the best-smelling roses.

Lush Colorful Sensory Garden


Incorporate Water Features

The sound and sight of moving water is very soothing and can be a great addition to your sensory garden. Water fountains, birdbaths, or even a small pond can add both visual and auditory appeal, as they will attract a variety of interesting local wildlife to your space.

Small Pond with Lilies and Large Rocks in a Sensory Garden


Integrate Sound Features Such as Wind Chimes

Besides sounding soothing, melodic tones, wind chimes can also play a key role of alerting you when the weather has turned blustery. In Southern California, for example, where we experience Santa Ana winds, our chimes alert us when we need to “batten down” our outdoor furniture and plants.

A Great Sound Feature Example for a Sensory Garden: A Simple Wind Chime

One of our favorite sound “features” is a simple tin goat bell that only sounds during days that are extra windy.

Tin Goat Bell as a Wind Chime


Add Seating and Other Amenities

To make your sensory garden a comfortable place to spend time, add seating, tables, umbrellas, or other amenities that will make it inviting and comfortable for spending extended periods of time. Outdoor rugs or floor cushions can also make it more comfortable to sit on the ground to take in the atmosphere.

In-Progress Sensory Garden with Small Outdoor Table


Use Lighting Wisely

Lighting can enhance the beauty of your sensory garden and make it more inviting during the evening hours. Path lights, solar lanterns, or string lights can all be used to add a bit of magic to your space. Hurricane lanterns for holding lit candles are another way to add warm lighting that moves with you throughout your garden sanctuary.

Night Lighting for a Sensory Garden


Don’t Forget the Finishing Touches

Finishing touches, such as birdhouses, sculptures, wind spinners, or additional wind chimes, can add that extra bit of interest to your garden.

Wind Spinner for a Sensory Garden


Creating a sensory garden in your home is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and stimulate your senses. By following these tips, you can create a space that is both beautiful and functional!


A Sensory Garden Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

Creating a sensory garden doesn’t have to be expensive. By following the tips listed below, you can easily create a stunning space without overspending.


Start with What You Have

If you have an existing garden or landscaping, you can often incorporate them into your sensory garden design. Especially focus on maintaining native plants that have already proven that they are happy in the micro-climate of your outdoor space.


Shop Around for Plants

Don’t feel like you have to buy all of your plants from a nursery. Local garden centers, farmers markets, and even big box stores often sell plants at a fraction of the cost.

Home Depot’s generous return policy on plants always warrants strong consideration when purchasing plants that may not be a perfect fit for your outdoor setting.


Never Discard a Seed

We enjoy the challenge of growing our plants from seeds that we save from fruits and vegetables we consume throughout the year. In the process, we also learned, when snipping a store-bought green onion down to the bulb, to replant the bulb indoors or outdoors. We’ve watched countless bulbs regrow into full plants with edible onions over and over again. Safe to say, we no longer need to buy green onions from our local grocer.

Likewise, we were amazed at the pineapple fruit that finally grew, after two years in production, from planting the head of a store-bought fruit and rooting it in water. Our resourceful treatment of seeds, from apples, nectarines, dates, apricots, avocadoes, grapes, tomatoes and more, has given us plenty of bountiful returns, by just planting seeds from foods we enjoy. Sometimes “planting” can simply entail tossing seeds into a patch of dirt to see if anything takes hold.

Pineapple Plant & Fruit grown from the head of a store-bought pineapple in a Sensory Garden


Get Creative with Materials

Reclaimed wood, stones, and even recycled glass can be used to create beautiful garden features without spending a lot of money. Be sure to keep an eye open for free items listed on local sites like Nextdoor and Craigslist.

A prevalent type of listing pertaining to landscaping is posted after a homeowner has completed an outdoor project, and they realize that they ordered too many rocks or too much gravel. Or conversely, a homeowner is planning to refresh their outdoor space, and they want to discard elements of their existing space.

Gray Landscaping River Rocks for Sensory Gardens


Do It Yourself

Many garden features, such as water gardens and stone pathways, can be created with a little bit of DIY know-how. Again, definitely leverage Nextdoor and Craigslist, but in tandem with helpful YouTube videos for inspiration and guidance.


Use Plants that Grow Well in Your Region

Native plants are generally the best choice for a sensory garden, as they are already adapted to the climate and soil conditions, and will be ready to thrive under the right conditions.

A good way to try out native plants in your garden is to bring a plastic bag with you on your walks in your neighborhood to collect broken branches, fallen fruit or seedlings, for planting or rooting.

By following these tips, you can easily create a beautiful and affordable sensory garden for your home. So get creative and have fun with the process!


Plants You Should Consider for Your New Sensory Garden

Let’s dive into some of the best plants you should consider for your new sensory garden. These plants are chosen for their beauty, fragrance, and texture, making them perfect for creating a truly sensory experience.



Lavender is a classic choice for a sensory garden. This fragrant herb is known for its calming properties and can be used in a variety of ways. It can be planted in the ground or in containers, making it a versatile choice for any space. Its flowers can also be used indoors to enhance one’s sleeping environment.

Phenomenal Lavender Plant from

Photo of a Phenomenal Lavender Plant courtesy of



Roses are another classic choice for a sensory garden. With their beautiful flowers and sweet fragrance, they are sure to add both visual and aromatic appeal to your space. Choosing varieties that are suitable for your climate and soil is most important. And of course, make sure that you pick the best smelling roses, so you can enjoy their fragrance to the fullest.

Compassion Rose Gardeners Path

Photo of a Compassion Rose, one of the Top 25 Best-Smelling Roses, courtesy of Gardener’s Path.



Jasmine is a beautiful climbing vine that is known for its intoxicating fragrance. It can be grown in containers or trained to climb a trellis or arbor. Be sure to give it plenty of room to grow, as it can reach up to 20 feet in length!

Star Jasmine Bush

Photo of a Star Jasmine vine courtesy of



Gardenias are another fragrant choice for a sensory garden. With their beautiful white flowers and sweet scent, they are sure to add a touch of elegance to your space. They prefer acidic soils and partial shade, so be sure to choose a location carefully.

Frost Proof Gardenia from

Photo of a Frost Proof Gardenia courtesy of



Lilacs are another classic choice for a sensory garden. With their beautiful blooms and sweet fragrance, they are sure to add both visual and aromatic appeal to your space. They prefer full sun and well-drained soils, so be sure to choose a location carefully.

Miss Kim Lilac Plant from

A photo of a Miss Kim Lilac bush courtesy of



Though not a fragrant plant, we include Jade in this list as it can play a key, complementary role in your new sensory garden for several reasons. Since it is a succulent, it is very easy to care for and maintain in the right climate. Additionally, jade is resilient if damaged and easy to propagate. The plant is also pleasant to the touch and beautiful to look at and study. For climates with colder winters, jade should be kept in pots that can brought indoors during colder months.

Jade Plant Closeup View


These are just a few of the best plants for a sensory garden. By choosing varieties that are suitable for your climate and soil, you can easily create a space that is both beautiful and fragrant. When exploring for the right plants, choose those than resonate best with you.


Closing Comments

Though there are many incredible potential garden types one can grow and cultivate, we hold special affinity with sensory gardens, as they remind us the importance of also engaging the senses of sound and touch. These two dimensions also underscore the vital role gardens can play in terms of wellness for people of all ages, dispositions and locations.

Enjoying Fresh Fruit and Mint Tea in a Sensory Garden

In closing, we recommend that you envision your new, upcoming sensory garden as a “personal wellness center”:

You’re sitting on a comfortable, outdoor chair, enjoying mint tea and a freshly picked nectarine from your garden, basking in fresh air and sunlight, listening to soft wind chimes and the chirps of birds, while watching the paths of colorful butterflies and hummingbirds crisscrossing the scene…


This article was written with Emma Houston, a guest contributor. Emma is a gardener, bookkeeper, writer, and mother of three. She spends her time mostly in her home garden. When she is not there, you will find her working on developing her own line of homemade natural skincare products.


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