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Elements of a formal sensory garden

If you seek striking images of symmetry, control, and style, a formal garden may be for you.

For lovers of order over chaos

The most important elements of a formal sensory garden include a strong sense of symmetry, a love of geometric lines and angles, a desire to take care (or have someone else take care) of the garden to ensure every element of the garden fulfills its specific role.

Keep your colors simple and inviting

A formal sensory garden benefits from having a simple, soft color palette that includes soft pastels and whites that soften the harsh angles. You want to draw people in and not scare them away.

Look to build natural architecture and structure with plants

Box hedges, yew, lavender, wisteria, and vines are some of the staples of a formal garden. A wisteria looks great climbing tightly to a pergola taking center stage. The simple geometry of yew and boxwood hedges create a sense of order and structure. And lavender is often counted on to create rows separating one distinct space from another.

Add your stars of the show

Have symmetrically aligned focal points. Good examples include urns, benches, or fountain water features. Never underestimate the value of a good water feature to bring life and order to a garden.

Don’t forget who the stars are

Feel free to add some color as long as you keep it simple. Feel free to add some reds, such as roses, as long as they are organized in patterns. Nothing but the focal points are the stars of the show. The structure is designed to keep those stars shining.

Remember the senses

As a sensory garden, get those senses engaged.

  • Hearing could be the running water of a fountain or the crunching of gravel underneath your feet

  • Sight will include the geometric shapes and order, the intriguing focal points, and some shimmering water

  • You can make touch irresistible by adding a focal point bench made of cast iron or other material and you just can’t resist sitting on.

  • People won’t be able to resist the sweet smell of lavender, the clean smell of boxwood, and the fragrant smell of roses that permeates the air

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