Dale Farm sensory garden

With the help of everyone on the farm we have built what we hope will be a quiet, accessible sensory garden for everyone here and visitors alike.

Sensory gardens are designed to connect people closely with nature. Some are quiet places, designed to be calming, while others are designed to stimulate activity or to be used within therapeutic or educational programmes, we have tried to create elements of all of these within our garden.

We experience everything through our senses and this creates the multi-sensory memories we carry with us. The more senses we engage, the richer the experience and the more we remember. With imaginative sensory design and sensitive attention to detail, a garden becomes a sensory feast.

  • Touch – feel of plants, incorporating plants and objects with different feels (ensuring that the plants neither irritate or are toxic).  The use of water features and streams that can be felt cascading down wet cool rocks.
  • Sound – Grasses and plants swish and swirl in the wind, slowly relaxing the mind.  The calming use of water features and small streams that trickle down towards one of our ponds transporting you back to memories past.
  • Taste – Using herbs to entice the taste buds (supervised plant knowledge required).
  • Smell – The use of flowers and herbs; the reminder of that Mediterranean holiday that can be smelt wafting in the breeze or after rubbing the plants to release their perfume.
  • Sight – using calming colours, different shaped plants and leaves to stimulate your senses and slowly relax you as you meander around the path

Garden progress

With the help of volunteers, staff and the people we support we defined a clear idea of what we were aiming to create. We came up with the overall outline of the garden and the accessibility before getting too involved with the detailed design. We wanted the garden to follow a path, culminating in two reflective areas, one a sitting area and one a water feature.

Our workshop replaced all the woodwork and did an incredible job of rebuilding the main structural parts of the garden, including bridges, fences and raised beds.

Finished garden

The garden has now become established, the streams have been relined, the plants and garden has become established and the garden is used by our farm family as a place to relax, reflect and invigorate the senses.


  • Visual: calming colours, pinks, white, purples and blues.
  • Long flowering: plants such as Geraniums (herbaceous perennial) and Sweet peas.
  • Pollinator friendly: Buddleia (butterfly bush), Honey Suckle, Agastache and open flowers such as Cosmos.
  • Aromatic plants: Rosemary, Lavender, Marjoram, Thyme, Organum, Sage, and Mint all of various varieties.
  • Touch: grasses for touch and movement along with soft Stachys.
  • Sound: grasses, larger shrubs surrounding trees.