South Kingsville Pre-school successfully applied for a community grant to design a sensory garden . Jeavons Landscape Architects was invited to design the garden following consultation with the pre-school committee.
A very narrow space along one side of the pre-school outdoor area has been transformed into a series of intensively textured spaces that children can walk through as part of a journey, or pause in to play – a kind of ‘worlds within worlds’ experience.
Sound was one of the elements that can be explored with a talk tube that connects one end of the space to the other. Hanging saucepans of varying size and type invite touch and investigation; Recycled vintage fence infills form a zigzag path edge and an old gate is the catalyst for imaginary play; digging patches of varying materials – dirt and stones – provide contrasting experiences of weight and texture; a rain gauge, thermometer and wind vane allow children to observe and measure environmental conditions. Scarecrows made by the children watch over seasonal planting of herbs and vegetables. Planting was selected for its sensory qualities – texture, scent, flower and seed collection.
Implementation of the design was carried out by dedicated parents at working bees with a local contractor, Petstra Gardens assisting with construction of hardscape elements; A steel bower forming a frame on which to weave textiles was fabricated by the grandfather of a kinder child. All in all, a true community project.