Sensory Overload

Stimulate your senses with a garden that begs to be touched, smelled, and used.

Textured, fragrant, sensory gardens
Photo by Steve Henke
Trick the senses and fake texture with 3-D wallpaper.


Shake up spring gardening by blending plants you’d want to touch; think succulents, moss, lavender, and lamb’s ear.


Rocks, stones, wood, and metal add extra texture.


STIMULATE YOUR SENSES with a garden that begs to be touched, smelled, and used. Often loaded with fragrant herbs that can be clipped for cooking, sensory gardens make a fresh and therapeutic addition to the kitchen, patio, or wherever you have a sunny window. For a large-scale example, check out the open-air display at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. But even a tabletop planter can do the job. This galvanized steel container garden, created by Bachman’s, is filled with basil, curry, and club moss. We perched it in front of iron wallpaper—yep, wallpaper—for another kind of sensory experience: the double take.

Sensory garden in steel container ($85), from Bachman’s, 6010 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls., 612-861-7600,; Palmer iron wallpaper ($129.95 per roll) and wooden Saxon chest of drawers ($2,895), both from Andrew Martin, 7101 France Ave. S., Edina, 612-208-0557,