Sensory Garden, Kent and Canterbury Hospital, Kent, UK
Sensory garden for an outdoor space for patients, visitors and staff with abundant planting
Sensory gardens are essential for our health and wellbeing. Set in the grounds of Kent and Canterbury Hospital, in between a myriad of buildings is a long rectangular area. Fortunately, sun gets to this courtyard, but a long section is in shade for most of the day. There is also a very large noisy air conditioning unit with piping. The initial stage is to screen the air conditioning unit while leaving enough space for ongoing maintenance. An existing newly laid tarmac path with concrete edging wraps itself around the space. Taking inspiration from the shape of the space, the existing path and the need for green space for health and wellbeing, the sensory garden design focuses on 3 main seating areas with abundant verdant planting. To add height small trees are planted and a concept for a louvred floating’ canopy to create interesting shadows on the otherwise blank walls and floor below. In one corner an espaliered tree gives extra depth and an additional cantilevered canopy over a central bench provides refuse for patients, visitors and staff. Contemporary wall art finishes the sensory garden. The colour scheme is simple, with an emphasis on low-maintenance, hardy evergreen plants to give year-round colour, shape, form and texture.