Turn your garden into a sensory delight
Lifestyle trends research shows that many of us are yearning to return to a simpler, more sensory time and place, a place where we can hear the trickle of a fountain, watch flames flicker on an outdoor fireplace, taste dishes brightened with herbs we’ve grown ourselves—and of course, stop to smell the roses. Here we show how to appeal to all five senses, turning your garden into a sensory delight.
Outdoor night lighting can create a feast for the eyes, bringing out intriguing shadows and intense highlights. Details never noticed before suddenly come alive. Advancements in new technologies use lower voltage, including solar power and LED landscape lighting, making the cost more affordable. A recent study conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects revealed outdoor lighting is increasingly in demand.
Here, uplighting glows on trees from below and within, to magical effect.
Lights along a path bring out the intricacies of the stone and make the home look warm and inviting.
Lovely at Twilight
The lighting of the steps and paths not only promotes safety but also conveys a sense of arrival at the home’s entrance.
Here night lighting gives the trees a sculptural quality and bathes the home in welcoming tones.
A Sense of Ease
Soft lighting on the patio gives a sense of ease and warmth to relaxing and entertaining. As the sun sets and the fireflies come out, it also extends the hours that can comfortably be spent outside.
Everything is Illuminated
Uplighting both the dramatic fireplace and the trees in the background produces cinematic results.
Texture and Pattern
Night lighting brings out the warm colors, textures and patterns of the stone fireplace.
Classic Outdoor Kitchen
Outdoor kitchens with the latest accoutrements are increasingly popular in homes across America. With places to cook, set food down, relax, socialize, and even store cooking and food items, there’s no longer any need to run into the house for supplies or ingredients while hosting weekend parties. Everything’s at your fingertips.
A white pergola and mostly green plant palette give this outdoor kitchen area a classic look. See some new kitchen features on the next slides.
Countertop Pizza Oven
A stainless steel gas-fired pizza oven from Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet  reaches high temperatures quickly—Old World taste with contemporary convenience.
The countertop provides room for plenty of fixings in nature’s rainbow of colors, echoed by the container planting.
The stately tree in the background and plantings of fragrant lavender surrounding the outdoor grill give a timeless, slightly Mediterranean ambience to the outdoor kitchen.
Cool Drink on a Hot Day
A built-in fridge by Marvel Refrigeration  keeps beverages close at hand.
Beautiful Landscapes—and Soundscapes
A beautifully landscaped yard is a great space for relaxing and entertaining. Having your favorite music playing, or listening to natural sounds like running water, adds to the ambiance.
You might be quietly unwinding on the back patio after a long day as gentle music plays in surround sound, transporting you to times gone by. You may be listening to classical favorites as the sun goes down. Or maybe you’re hosting an exuberant evening party around the pool where upbeat tunes fill the air and dancing begins.
Outdoor speaker technology has advanced greatly in recent years. Speakers that mimic rocks or are hidden inside specialized planters are nothing new, but the latest in high-performance outdoor speakers look like landscape lights. Sonance , Bose , and Frontgate  are good places to browse.
The gentle lapping of water at the sides of the pool enhances the pleasure of relaxing at this beckoning poolside.
Tucked Between the Rocks
Music from a Sonance  outdoor speaker tucked between the rocks blends with the sound of water trickling.
With the right outdoor sound technology, music can filter into secluded parts of the garden.
Plants of differing textures offer eye-catching contrasts to the look and (literally) feel of your backyard. Texture also contributes to the overall design and mood of a landscape, helping to create the illusion of depth and space. Ornamental grasses slip through the fingers, geraniums offer a rougher feel. Be it a velvety lamb’s ear or hollyhocks with their thick, squeezable blossoms, plants that beg to be touched draw people into a garden.
Coarse-textured plants like hydrangea, magnolia, and sumac have large leaves and blooms, making a good background for fine-textured flowers with small leaves and blossoms like Nepeta, Johnny jump-ups, forget-me-nots, salvia, roses, and coral bells.
Here, purple Nancy, lamb’s ear, and coreopsis occupy the foreground, with sturdy sedums in the middle. Foxgloves provide verticality in the back.
The pachysandra in the foreground gets its name from the Greek word pachys, meaning thick; its shiny, leathery leaves have rough margins. It grounds the combination of boxwood, coleus, and coral bells.
In dappled sunlight, Japanese ferns add a delicate touch to plantings of deeply-veined hosta and spiky red astilbe.
Lamb’s ear—irresistible to children—is just as soft as the name promises.
Fragrances Trigger Memories
From pungent geraniums to heady magnolia blossoms, floral fragrances have an uncanny ability to evoke people’s strongest memories. Plant flowers under open windows to catch a whiff of unforgettable scents, or along paths leading up to your front door as a welcome to home, sweet home.
Lilac, freesia, violets, gardenias, and roses (choose the old fashioned and unusual varieties for the most intense fragrances) are known for their intense perfume. Shrubs such as lilac, hibiscus, viburnum, and elderberry all have distinct flora scents – some stronger than others. Catmint, lavender and herbs also add to the potpourri. Just a few aromatic gems planted around your yard add a whole new level of enjoyment to the garden experience.
Magnolia blossoms, like the one shown here, have a heady fragrance that conjures the deep South; magnolia is often used as the prevailing note in perfume.
Fresh and Light
Daffodils have a light, lemony fragrance; tulips smell fresh and clean. Here they are combined in a winsome windowbox with primrose and pussy willows.
Part of the pleasure of gardening with herbs—besides enjoying their lively flavors in cooking—is their intense aromas. Basil and rosemary are shown here.
Lovely, Old-Fashioned Peonies
A sign of early summer, peonies make a delightful cutting flower because of the way they scent a room.
This cheery planting includes lilies, Nepeta (catmint) and herbs.
Sweet pea lives up to its name; many gardeners consider it the sweetest smelling flower.
Chives do quadruple duty in the garden—not only are they aromatic and edible, but they also bloom with purple flowers and repel insects. Interestingly, the leaves smell like onions but the blooms, like their relatives, are in the lily family.