Chatham University


Graduate Research


Sensory Gardens: An interactive and learning experience for children with disabilities

Author: Jodie M. Pavlovich
Date: August 2006
Institution: Master of Landscape Architecture, Chatham University
Advisors: Lisa A. Kunst Vavro, RLA, ASLA and Martha Oliver
Program Director: Lisa A. Kunst Vavro RLA, ASLA

Sensory gardens stimulate the senses, while facilitating teaching, healing and/or therapy and are especially important to disabled users. Sensory gardens are important because they allow the users to heal, interact, and learn while having a positive nature experience, which will encourage the user, especially children, to come back again and again.

Limited sensory gardens exist publicly: especially those designed specifically for disabled children's need.

Two sites have been selected for this project both serving disabled children. By working with employees through questionnaires and interviews it was determined what would give the children the most rewarding sensory experience. A design was completed for each of the sites paying particular attention to details that will have the greatest impact on these children. The designs are complete with suggested features and plant material.