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We was asked to design and install a fun and interactive Sensory Garden at University Hospitals NHS Trust in Brighton. The design was to be styled for the enjoyment of children of all ages and abilities.  To keep the garden low maintenance we firstly revamped the existing ground and replaced it with artificial grass. This created a vibrant green colour to the area and a lovely area for the children to sit and enjoy their new surroundings. We placed soft matting underneath the grass to make the area extra comfy.

We positioned a raised planter in the garden to run along the inside of their existing fence. Inside this planter we arranged a mix of sensory plants with different aromas. The plants we chose to include were mint, lavender and thyme. This gave the children the opportunity to feel, smell and interact with the plants. The wood we used to make these planters is guaranteed for 10 years against rot and comes from a renewable source that does not affect the environment.

In the centre of the planter we installed an Interactive Bubble Machine. This is a great fun addition to any sensory garden. The bubble unit is housed in a bespoke wooden “Animal House” type enclosure so that it is protected from the outdoor elements. It features an air switch which when pressed activates the bubble machine for a required amount of time. The machine then relies on a child to press the switch again for more bubbles to be produced. Creating a great ‘Cause and Effect’ product.

We designed and built in-house a bespoke Interactive Storyboard to include in the sensory garden. Our design allows for the images and songs to be easily alternated to the users taste. Also the changeability keeps the garden fresh and interesting. Each of the images are mounted on a separate board. Below each board is a switch that activates the sound associated with the image. Each of the boards and their switches are then mounted on a bigger back board. This was then fixed on wooden legs and installed into the ground. To get the system and the staff started we supplied an initial set of images and sounds to their choosing.

Two interactive animals have been installed in the raised planter. A Monkey and an Elephant. When each one of these is activated via a switch they will make their respective noises. Again this is a great ‘Cause and Effect’ product and one of our most popular items in a sensory garden. The animals are made of a solid material and are fixed in place so they cannot be picked up and disturbed whilst the users are in the garden.

No sensory garden would be complete without musical instruments. The Sensory Garden University Hospitals NHS Trust was no exception. Our range of musical instruments are manufactured specifically for outdoor use so are extremely durable to ensure longevity. We secured into the ground our Musical Chimes and Cymbolic. Both of these are extremely colourful and produce a different sound dependant on which part of the instrument you strike.

A hugely fun product which is entertaining for people of all ages is the Wiggly Mirror!! The frame is made from renewable source timber and the mirror is made from polycarbonate so there is no risk of it shattering. It is like the old mirrors at the seaside and the funfair. The slightest movement reflected in the mirror makes your body look long, then short, then stretched, then compact. This product always gets the children’s attention!!

To complete the Sensory Garden University Hospitals NHS Trust we installed a bespoke Tactile Panel. It is a great panel that has a range of textures for the children to explore. The contrasting colours used within the design attract the children to the panel and they can not wait to run their hands over the different textures. All in all this sensory garden has something for every child to enjoy and receive pleasure from.

Sensory Garden University Hospitals NHS Trust

Check out Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust by visiting their website