Home and garden improvements | Sensory gardens


Tips on how to bring the the sensation of touch into a sensory garden.

By Callum Campbell · Published: February 26, 2021

herbs growing in pots

Our sense of touch is a vital part of how we feeling grounded as people and it helps us to develop a sense of place. In the same way that some people find popping bubble wrap satisfying, it can be relaxing to close your eyes and feel the texture of leaves, or run your hand through soft long grass. We have some tips for bringing things that are nice to touch into your garden below:

  • Herbs, such as mint, rosemary and thyme (there are different types – lemon thyme is particularly nice) feel nice to touch and make your hands small lovely. Edible herbs are good because they are non toxic and taste fantastic in cooking. Herbs tend to do well in containers and the RHS has a great guide about when, where and how to plant herbs on their website here >>
  • If it’s possible, try involving your child and the whole family with the process of planting and tending to your garden. Ordinary garden tasks like feeling the soil in your fingers, picking up plants to pot them, or sprinkling seeds on compost can light up our sense of touch. Spending this time together in the garden can also make positive memories that will be associated with the space.
  • Long, soft grasses or lavenders planted alongside a patio or accessible path are nice to run your hand through as you are passing. The RHS have a guide to long grasses like Pampas grass on their website here >>
pampas grass
  • Solar water feature – as well as looking and sounding nice, you might also be able to dip your fingers or toes into the water. They are available from garden centres and online shops and range in price, from as low as £20 for smaller models.

Helping Hands top tip

Why not grow your herbs in small pots? That way everyone can get involved in planting them and feel the soil on their hands. It also makes it easier to move them around the garden or put them at different levels if you need to.

raised bed

by Lorna Pederson, Head of Helping Hands, and Callum Campbell, Family Information Officer


First published 26 February 2021

Review due September 2021