Everyone loves the sight of a beautiful garden but the best kind of outdoor space is the one that appeals to all the senses – sight, sound, touch, taste and smell.

The concept of the ‘sensory’ garden has been adopted by many designers, and featured at all the big flower shows.  This year’s Chelsea Show in May included one show garden created by Blue Diamond Garden Centre and the National Trust, with sloping paths designed for wheelchair access, leading into an explosion of colours, sounds, textures and scents to be savoured.

It’s an effect that can easily be achieved In your own garden or patio, simply by adding plants and features that will create beautiful sounds, fill the air with scent, and add a tactile element as well as simply looking lovely – and perhaps even tasting good too!

Herbs are the ultimate sensory garden heroes, with a multitude of shapes, textures and sweet or spicy fragrances.  Even a few by the kitchen door or on a windowsill can stimulate the senses.

Lavender is another must-have in a sensory themed garden, and its sweet fragrance just speaks of summer days. There are lots of varieties, but the soft leaves and plump flower heads of French lavender (left) make them especially tactile.

For sound, choose plants like Bamboo that will rustle in the breeze, or Wisteria (right) which will add texture, colour, scent and movement as its delicate long swathes of scented flowers ripple on the wind.

Texture can be added with tickly or feathery grasses that come in many colours, forms and sizes and the taller ones will sway beautifully in the breeze.

Of course no sensory garden would be complete without a rose or two, and one of this year’s new ones is a boldly coloured and fragranced climber.  In vivid purple with white, it provides a visual feast in itself, and goes by the name of Oh Wow! Purple Splash (middle).