Relax All Your 5 Senses – Make Your Own Sensory Garden

Have you observed a child playing in the soil? They tend to first knit their fingers through the soil, fully experiencing its textures. Once they have sufficiently satisfied their curiosity, they might add some water.

Mixing it through, and then rubbing it between their fingers, it can feed another sensory node.

But sometimes this is not enough. The need to further explore can eventually lead them to smell the dirt or and even taste it.

They are so focused on what they need to do, that you would be hard pressed to get their attention. Try calling them, they would politely just ignore you. 

Besides, being in a mindful state while playing, they are also fully immersed in reconnecting with nature, using all their senses. When last have you been fully immersed in a natural habitat? 

Mental health charity, Mind in the UK, says spending time in green spaces, planting food and flowers is immensely healthy. It can have positive effects on our mood and reduce our stress levels.

To create a garden which can help you switch off and become more mindful you should consider addressing all five senses.

Touch, smell, taste, sound, and sight all should be included in your mini paradise. A sensory sanctuary helps you tune into your surroundings, allowing to switch off from the stressors of daily life.

Touch 

And certainly we created mankind from an extract of clay.” 

Qur’an 23: 12

There’s just something about getting your hands dirty in the soil. Perhaps because on some level we come from the soil.

Getting dirty and tending plants is a sensory practice in itself, enhance this by finding different textured plants. Aloes, plants with hairy or shiny leaves can all add to your mindful experience. Don’t stop there though.

You can use pebbles or clay tiles to create pathways between your different types of foliage. Try walking barefoot in the soil and on the pebbled pathways for an uplifting and comforting connection to nature. 

Sound 

We all have days where we struggle to concentrate. Sometimes I listen to sounds of rain or a waterfall on some app, to  help me find my balance again. But we don’t have to do this via an app or YouTube with a mindful garden in place. 

Attract birds to your garden by hanging bird feeders or put water baths in shaded spots. Pretty soon you will have a cacophony of beautiful sounds which instantly make you feel calm.

Some local bird seed, the right flowers or an offering of fresh water will bring some lovely creatures to your garden.
Some local bird seed, the right flowers or an offering of fresh water will bring some lovely creatures to your garden.

If you have the space and the budget install a small water feature which can add a pleasant background noise  in your garden. But, remember certain trees and plants like willows and long grass will create pleasant sounds when the wind blows.

In early Autumn nothing beats the crunching sound of leaves under your feet as you stroll in your garden.

Taste 

If Covid taught us anything this year, it is the importance of having some sort of food security. Planting a garden which can have edible plants, flowers and vegetables will not only enhance our mindful garden but also add an element of food security.

Besides, growing your own food is a magical affair in itself. Watching your plants develop from seed as you nurture, water, and watch them grow into something edible is a satisfying experience.

While enjoying your garden, reach over and grab a super fresh snack or a sprig of herbs to delight your tongue.
While enjoying your garden, reach over and grab a super fresh snack or a sprig of herbs to delight your tongue.

What about adding a community element to this? Consider planting fruit trees or a small vegetable patch on your front lawn or porch where people who walk by can have access to it. Feeding your community has immense rewards and blessings.

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About Fatima Bheekoo-Shah
Fatima Bheekoo-Shah is the author of "Saffron" (A collection of personal narratives by Muslim women), a freelance writer and book reviewer. She resides in Gauteng, South Africa. A book nerd and avid reader, Fatima is always looking for her next great read.