Coinciding with the 20th anniversary celebration of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Denver Botanic Gardens broke ground for the new Sensory Garden today, a garden created specifically for people with disabilities. Accessible to all populations, the development of the design for this garden was truly a collaborative community effort, with involvement from organizations such as the City of Denver’s Office of Disability Rights, the Mayor appointed Commission for people with Disabilities, and University of Colorado Denver’s Landscape Architecture Department.
The new Sensory Garden located just north of the Bonfils Stanton Visitor Center, replaces the old Picnic Garden. Integral in the design and development of the landscape plan for this garden were graduate students from the University of Colorado’s Department of Landscape Architecture. During the design phase, students were on site getting a feel for the topography of the site and experiencing first hand how someone with a specific disability would navigate through the garden by blind-folding themselves or by being wheelchair bound.
The Sensory Garden will combine architectural features and plants selected to stimulate all the human senses: smell, taste, touch, sight and sound. Adaptive gardening techniques will be demonstrated throughout the garden utilizing structures that minimize barriers and maximize people’s abilities. Many of the garden’s design elements will also aid in Sensory Tours and Horticultural Therapy activities. Some of the design features include:
- Activity area – This shaded area will provide a comfortable space to facilitate Horticultural Therapy activities.
- Vertical growing wall – Will allow visitors to interact with the plants at eye level while sitting or standing.
- Roll under raised beds – Will enable front wheelchair access to gardens with leg clearance.
Garden installation is tentatively scheduled to begin in August.