Learning Disability Today
Supporting professionals working in learning disability and autism services

Regard transform residential garden into sensory delight

herbgardenA garden for adults with learning difficulties at Lynfords and The Mashes homes is being transformed into an environment to delight the service user’s senses.

The new sensory garden in Hailsham, Sussex has been created as a result of brainstorming between its staff and residents to make the most of the recent fine weather.

Care provider Regard is working on the scheme which involves the conversion of approximately 150 square meters shared by both homes to feature elements of appeal to all senses.

Sensory appeal and fun for service users
Regard’s Services Manager in Hailsham, Richard Murphy, said: “We’ve tried to provide something for everyone here, taking into account what our particular residents are likely to appreciate most and ease of maintenance.

“Visual appeal is provided by contrasting shaded and open areas, as well as colourful planting schemes and sensory lights. Residents’ sense of touch will be stimulated by soft-textured plants and grasses such as Phormium Gold Ray and Apricot Queen, while interesting sounds are provided with wind chimes.”

He also added that a range of herbs and vegetables were grown to appeal to the residents’ taste buds and as for scents, the area will become its own once the fruit and herbs mature.

Service users would also gain further visual interest which will be provided by the recently grown polygorium covers the new pergola.

The growing scheme includes a three-tier planter full of strawberries which serves to disguise an unsightly, but essential, man-hole cover.

Some residents, mainly the elderly enjoyed getting their fingers dirty during the planting as well as observing the work in progress.

Others are keen gardeners who are looking forward to helping with the ongoing maintenance such as caring for seedlings in the newly-built greenhouse.

Easy accessibility into green and recycled grounds
Special attention has been paid to the creation of wide, level pathways for wheelchair users and to locating vegetables as well as to locating vegetables, herbs in elevated trugs and flowers in raised beds.

Not forgetting Regard’s green credentials, a composting area has been created at the far end of the garden.

To complete the first phase of works, a circular flower-bed has been cut into a previously inaccessible garden, and paths have been dressed with recycled wood chippings made on-site.

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