How to create a safe garden for the visually impaired

Gardens for the visually impaired. For people who are visually impaired, it can be difficult to interpret their surroundings. For this reason, it is important to make sure that the garden design has as many visual cues as possible.

A well designed sensory garden is much more than just an outdoor living space it’s a place to learn, explore, and feel your senses. All five senses should be catered to with different textures, smells, tastes, sounds, and sights that match the time of year. This might include large logs that you can clamber on or dirt paths that crinkle as you walk on them.

If you’re one of those people that can’t help but spend countless hours tending to your garden, this blog post will give you some tips on how to design a sensory garden so that those with diminished sight can enjoy it just like anyone else!

create safe garden

Table of Contents

Creating a sensory garden for the visually impaired

In a garden, plants provide both visual and auditory cues by planting scented or tactile plants in your garden, you can create an optimal environment that will make it easier for those with impaired vision to navigate.

Sensory gardens help visually impaired individuals because they are able to make use of all their senses. This is a great way for them to connect with nature and spend time outside in the garden without worrying about bumping into things or being too close.

Garden Layout


Sensory Garden

Your design should be simple, with straight paths and no steps so that it is easy to follow. This means you should plant flowers and bushes on the sides of your walkway, not in front of them.

In addition to straight pathways, there should also be a slight change in elevation every few feet when using mulch or gravel as this will help visually impaired people know where they are going even if they don’t have shoes on their feet!

Garden Beds

Visually impaired gardeners can make use of all their senses. This is a great way for them to connect with nature and spend time outside in the garden without worrying about bumping into things or being too close.

Here are a couple of examples that you can fill with young plants and designed for those who are blind or partially sighted.

Raised Bed Gardens

If you are visually impaired, you might consider planting your garden on a raised bed because the plants will be easy to reach. You can also place containers outside that could hold some of your plantings so they don’t have to bend down too much when gardening.

Ground Level Beds

Ground-level plant garden beds are a bit higher than raised beds. While these are excellent options for people who need to lean on grab bars or rely on a cane, they also help those with poor balance and new mobility problems.

sensory gardensContainer Gardening

Container gardening is a great idea for those who are visually impaired because the containers will be easy to reach. You can also place them on tables or other stable surfaces so they don’t have to worry about stability and falling over when reaching into the container.

Garden Window Boxes

Another idea is to use garden window boxes. These are a great option for people who can’t reach out too far, and they’ll be easy to water or care for with just one hand. You can also place containers outside that could hold some of your plantings so they don’t have to bend down too much and help garden easier. 


Landmarks around the garden are useful to help you find your way. Whether it be a shrub or tree, scented plant, bench or wind chimes landmarks can also guide an individual through their surroundings and make them feel at home in nature.

Lawn Size Blind people

Consider having a semi-wild lawn with mown paths instead of an ordinary large one. This will allow you to save time and effort on the maintenance for your yard, which can often be tedious work.

The use of senses

Scented Plants and Herbs

The sense of smell is often a neglected one. For those with visual impairments, however, this can become their most acute one and it’s important to make sure that the garden you design will cater for your specific needs.

Smells are not always appealing to everyone but when used properly they can help guide visitors around different areas in the garden or provide an overall pleasing experience for all senses which we should look into while designing our gardens!


One of the most important aspects to consider when designing for people with visual impairments is how they will be able to feel their surroundings. Some are more sensitive than others and some may not even be able to touch certain plants or flowers at all.

If you have a garden that’s filled with tall trees, this may pose an issue as it would make navigation difficult. Consider planting low-growing shrubs and rustling plants with interesting textures to stimulate the main senses.

Fruit Trees diminished sight

People with a visual impairment can’t see the colour red and won’t know that they’re eating a fruit. If this is an issue, consider planting not only apple trees but also pear or cherry trees so there’s more than one type of fruit to choose from! 

Additional Garden Design Ideas

Water features: Running water, a gentle stream from a water fountain or a birdbath may trigger an auditory response in some individuals. Considerations need to be given to safety but the inclusion of a new sensory experience can add more depth for a person who is partially sighted.

Edible plants, vegetables, herbs and fruits: Vision loss often enhances other senses like smell and taste. Sensory gardens with products that can be recognised by shapes and textures are an added advantage. Note: It goes without saying but just in case be mindful when selecting. Choose plants carefully to avoid poisonous plants.

Gardens for the visually impaired – conclusion

We hope that you will be able to use the information in this article as a starting point for designing your own sensory garden. It is important to consider how it can benefit those that are partially sighted so they may experience the delights of wonderous space.

One way we have discussed at length is through using more natural materials such as rocks and plants instead of manufactured items like tiles and plastic flowers.

If you are not sure where to start or need help with getting started on your project, please check out our other blogs containing advice on what gardening tools you may need, selecting plants, vegetables and tips on how to grow plants and improve your gardening skills.

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Oliver Wright

I hope you enjoy reading some of the content and ideas from this site, I tend to share articles and product reviews on a daily basis, so be rest assured… you won’t run out of things to read!

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