Garden variety

From the June/July 2017 issue of our magazine, ideas about adapting a garden for someone with dementia.

Making a garden dementia friendly

Enjoying the garden

Gardens provide great pleasure for many people, and with a bit of planning, they may be adapted for someone with dementia.

How will the person get the most out of the garden? Would they like an area to sit in or a view of flowers? Would a shelter against wind, rain or sun be useful?

'For a more stimulating environment, use smell, touch and hearing as well as sight to pick plants and garden features.'

Selecting plants and ornaments can be enjoyable in itself, and many garden centres have cafés for rest and refreshment. If the person can’t go themselves, there may be other ways to involve them in choices by using catalogues or websites.

For a more stimulating environment, use smell, touch and hearing as well as sight to pick plants and garden features.

Think about a route the person might take around the garden – are there focal points to attract and engage attention? Would special surfaces or handrails help? Where does the route lead towards?

Beware plants that may be poisonous, irritating for skin or eyes, thorny or sharp-edged. If these include someone’s favourites, there could be alternatives. For example, larkspur or lupins (both poisonous) might be replaced with hollyhocks or mullein.

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