Landscaping for the Senses: Gardens Offering Much More than Color
Throughout your daily life, you use all five senses to interact with your environment, so how can you plan your landscaping keeping that in mind? Many plants and vegetation options can satisfy more than one sense, regardless of your space or budget, and can be easily incorporated into a design.
One of the first senses that comes to mind when choosing new plantings is sight. No matter how much time and effort goes into a landscape, the usual goal of the design is beauty. And making a visual impact on your landscape can be achieved in many ways. Usually, one of the first goals when planning a garden is adding color.
When in doubt, we recommend using the color wheel to find complementary colors or other types of pairings that go well together. Keep darker, heavier colors lower than the brighter, lighter ones to ensure balance in the garden. Incorporate various size plants into your design to create movement of the eye.
A big mistake when planning a landscape is the temptation to cover every square inch with a plant. Don’t be afraid to utilize negative space when planting or, even better, place objects or decorations in the beds to break up the design. A decoration, rock, or even just an empty space can significantly impact your garden design.
The second sense you may consider is sound. Sometimes before you can even see a garden, you can hear it as you’re approaching. Garden sounds are often taken for granted, depending on your location. Nevertheless, there’s usually some noise, whether it’s the bustling noise of cars from a nearby road or soothing bird songs.
If these are not the sounds you enjoy, there are various ways you can add different tunes to the mix. A water feature is one of the most widely used additions to a landscape. Running water adds an extra element of interest for the eye and ear to your garden and also creates tranquil sounds to drown out surrounding noise.
Other sources of garden sound could be wind chimes, bird feeders, or even grasses. The sound of chimes will come and go with the breeze, while bird feeders tailored to specific birds and the soft rustling of tall ornamental grasses can bring in natural sounds.
A growing trend in gardening has been the return to scented plants and flowers in the landscape. For the longest time, the heavy genetic selection of plants for their ornamental value eliminated their aromatic qualities. This interest in the delightful smell of flowers and leaves provides choices such as lavender, gardenia, and lilac to gardeners.
However, if you find strong scents overwhelming and want something milder, there are plants for you too! For example, instead of scented flowers, you could choose aromatic foliage requiring you to touch the plant to experience the scent. This can be equally rewarding as fragrant flowers when working with a small space, or even container gardening where scents are near seating may be overpowering. In addition, there are various softer-scented options, from mint and sage to bee balm and heliotrope.
Often overlooked in the garden is the sense of touch. Usually associated with learning gardens for young children, tactile experiences rarely make it into a home landscape. Yet, plants pleasing to the touch can be a welcome addition to your space.
One example where touch can be incorporated is a pathway either alongside or between the stones, with plants like moss, sedums, or lawn ivy. Capable of tolerating moderate foot traffic, these plants can add intrigue directly to the path and provide a comfortable surface for those who walk outside the lines. Smooth-barked plants such as Crape Myrtle and American Beech also offer great sensory experiences.
Another example where touch can be effective is in a seating area. A table or patio planter can become infinitely more interesting if it includes an element of touch. Favorites like Blue Mound Artemisia or Lambs Ear can add a touch of color, texture, and feeling to your space.
The fifth and most elusive sense to engage in the garden is the one that involves your taste buds. Some people say the way to the heart is through the stomach, so why not to your garden as well? Growing edible plants in your landscape can be extremely rewarding when most of your food comes from a grocery store.
Herbs are a great example of how to bring taste into the garden and, consequently, the garden into the kitchen. Plants like basil, thyme, oregano, and mint are perfect for container or peripheral gardening. Herbs can also be a great addition to a landscape with various shapes, scents, and sizes, even if you don’t plan on eating them.
Another easy example of edibles in the garden are fruits such as apples, strawberries, and grapes. With all the seasonal intrigue of their ornamental counterparts, these plants can bring color and cravings into one space.
And last but certainly not least are vegetables. Depending upon your situation with wildlife and treatments, you may be able to integrate a vegetable garden into your landscape. In addition to feeding your family, many vegetable plants have attractive qualities other than their vegetables.
Incorporating all five senses into your landscape can drastically increase the interest and value it brings to your life. Whether a single pot, a patio, or an entire backyard, there is no area too big or small to be landscaped for the senses.
If you want more information about the best sensorial landscape designs, call our award-winning team today at 856-753-1944.