Sensory Gardens: A place to explore, connect and restore.

It’s safe to say our daily lives can sometimes feel overwhelming, and with so many conflicting priorities bombarding us from all angles it’s important to take time out to restore the balance. Not everyone will be converted into becoming a master gardener but there’s no denying we are all products of nature – so it makes sense that when we are feeling stressed, returning to nature can help restore the calm.

Connecting to nature looks different for everyone – for you it might be a swim in the ocean, working in your backyard or tending to your indoor plant collection.

A Sensory Garden is a space purposefully designed to harness nature’s restoring qualities.  These gardens are increasingly popular for use in health settings such as hospitals, respite homes and aged care facilities where they have been proven to be a valuable feature for people living with dementia and depression. Once Yumaro Ulladulla’s new building is completed, we will designing our own sensory space – very exciting!

Sensory gardens are more than just botanical displays; they are sanctuaries designed to engage and stimulate all our senses – sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound. These immersive spaces offer therapeutic benefits for individuals of all ages and abilities, fostering relaxation, mindfulness, and emotional well-being. The garden’s textures, scents, and sounds can create a rich sensory experience, enhancing our perception of the world around us.

Elements of a sensory garden including scented plants such as roses or hydrangeas that can evoke happy memories, plants that beg to be touched such as Adenanthos (Woolly Bush), materials such as gravel pathways that crunch when we walk, or grasses that help us “see” the breeze blowing.

“Designing gardens with plants that say ‘touch me’ encourages an interaction that goes beyond the familiarity of everyday gardening. An encounter with a plant that is crying out to be touched sends a signal to our brain that it’s time to stop, turn off our thinking brain and feel something.” Thrive Gardens

Sensory gardens are not just solitary retreats – they are spaces for connection and community. Whether shared between friends, families, or strangers, these tranquil oases offer a common ground where bonds are forged, and memories are made.

Suggested Plants

Adenanthos (Woolly Bush)



Grasses – eg Coastal Tussock Grass


Bird attracting shrubs – grevilleas and callistemons

Suggested Landscaping and Ornamental Materials

Gravel pathways

Water features

Wind chimes

Rain Chains

Further reading: Planning a sensory garden – Thrive