Julie Casey MSW, RSW

Wellness Care Farm

Nourishing Hearts

 Sensory Healing Garden & Trail

  • Give people the opportunity and the excuse to listen, touch, smell and look, more closely
  • Bring a place to life for all visitors including people with sensory impairments
  • Encourage physical activity
  • Tell a story, weave a tale and bring a myth to life
  • Be the basis for an education experience, facilitating learning outside the classroom
  • Build memories and make connections
  • Open up eyes, ears and nostrils and get hands out of pockets
  • Draw attention to new areas, points of interest, seasonal changes and highlights

Summer 2018

Nourishing Hearts will begin cultivating a sensory healing garden and trail. A sensory garden is a garden environment that is 

designed with the purpose of stimulating the senses. Sensory trails, like sensory gardens, are sometimes seen as ‘an access 

improvement’ intended for people with disabilities, specifically sensory impairments. While there is no doubt that enabling sensory 

exploration can make a place or an experience more accessible, encouraging people to use their senses is of benefit to all ages and 

abilities. This stimulation occurs courtesy of plants and the use of materials that engage one’s senses of sight, smell, touch, taste, 

and sound. Sensory gardens and trails are popular with and beneficial to both children and adults, especially those who have sensory 

processing issues, including autism, acquired brain injury, dementia and other disabilities. 

Who can benefit from sensory gardens and trails?

A sensory garden and trails can be very therapeutic for people who experience sensory problems. It may be used as a calming place 

and as a gentle way to stimulate the senses. This type of environment can become a place where people with autism and other sensory 

processing disorders feel safe and comfortable in exploring their senses without feeling overwhelmed by them. For people who are 

hyper-reactive to stimuli, the sensory garden provides a relaxing environment, and for people who tend to be under reactive to stimuli, 

the garden is a great way to stimulate the senses. For people who do not live with a disability, a sensory garden is beneficial in that it is a fun educational tool that allows them to explore and learn about their senses and nature. In people with dementia, sensory gardens can help keep them calm and interested, and these gardens also help to keep all of one’s senses aroused.While in the garden or on the 

trail, people are encouraged to touch, smell, taste, and generally interact with the environment around them. 

Why engage the senses?

Every experience is formed by our senses and every memory is an experience we carry with us. By encouraging people to use their senses we encourage them to enrich their experience and build stronger, deeper, more meaningful, connections and memories. In short, the more senses we engage the more we remember. And it’s fun too.

What can a sensory gardens and trail do?

Sensory gardens and trails can: