How to Create a Dementia Sensory Garden

How to Create a Dementia Sensory Garden


Care Learning

2 mins READ

Creating a dementia sensory garden can provide a therapeutic and stimulating environment for individuals living with dementia.

Here’s a detailed step-by-step guide to help you design and create such a garden:

Planning and Design

  • Understand the Needs: Consider the specific needs and abilities of the individuals who will use the garden. Consult with caregivers or healthcare professionals if possible.
  • Site Selection: Choose a location that is easily accessible, safe, and has good sunlight. Ensure the area is enclosed or can be made secure to prevent wandering.
  • Accessibility: Design wide, smooth, and non-slip pathways. Use materials that are easy to walk on and navigate with wheelchairs or walkers.

Safety Considerations

  • Non-Toxic Plants: Avoid plants that can be harmful if ingested. Choose non-toxic, gentle-touch plants.
  • Visibility: Ensure good visibility with clear boundaries, landmarks, and signs to help with navigation.
  • Lighting: Install soft, adequate lighting for evening use, avoiding harsh lights and shadows.

Sensory Elements

  • Visual Stimulation: Use a variety of colorful flowers and plants. Blooms with contrasting colors and different shapes can capture interest.
  • Fragrance: Incorporate fragrant plants like lavender, rosemary, and jasmine. These can be soothing and evoke memories.
  • Tactile Experience: Include plants and materials that offer different textures (e.g., soft lamb’s ear, rough bark). Raised beds and sensory walls can make tactile exploration easier.
  • Sound: Add elements that create gentle, soothing sounds such as wind chimes, water features, and rustling plants like bamboo.
  • Taste: Consider planting safe, edible herbs, fruits, and vegetables. These can stimulate taste and provide a sense of purpose if participants are involved in gardening tasks.

Engagement and Activities

  • Seating Areas: Provide comfortable seating areas for rest and social interaction. Consider mixed seating arrangements for individuals and small groups.
  • Interactive Elements: Incorporate features that invite interaction, such as bird feeders, butterfly gardens, and fish ponds.
  • Gardening Activities: If appropriate, create areas where individuals can participate in low-maintenance gardening tasks like watering or deadheading plants.

Personalization and Memory Aids

  • Familiar Elements: Include plants or garden ornaments that have personal significance to the individuals using the garden.
  • Memory Stations: Create stations with memorabilia such as old garden tools, photographs, or plaques that can trigger memories and conversations.


  • Design the garden to be as low-maintenance as possible. Consider drought-resistant plants and automatic irrigation systems.
  • Regularly check for and remove any hazards, such as fallen leaves, overgrown plants, or algae in water features.

Community and Support

  • Involve family members, caregivers, and local community groups in the garden’s creation and maintenance. This can foster a sense of community and ownership.

Sample Plant List for a Dementia Sensory Garden:

  1. Visual Plants: Sunflowers, marigolds, tulips, dahlias.
  2. Fragrant Plants: Lavender, rosemary, mint, scented geraniums.
  3. Tactile Plants: Lamb’s ear, moss, ornamental grasses, succulents.
  4. Edible Plants: Strawberries, tomatoes, basil, chives.
  5. Sound Elements: Bamboo, ornamental grasses, water fountains.

By carefully considering these elements, you’ll be able to create a sensory garden that is not only safe and accessible but also enriching and engaging for individuals living with dementia.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

You cannot copy content of this page