Sound and vision come together at St Albans sensory garden

Families and residents enjoyed playing music outside

Families and residents enjoyed playing music outside - Credit: Archant

A garden architect launched an innovative landscape design to engage dementia patients at a care home last week.

Musical instruments will be incorporated into the garden

Musical instruments will be incorporated into the garden - Credit: Archant

Amanda Shipman, of Corinium Gate, St Albans, was moved to design the ‘Soundwave Garden’ to help dementia patients engage with different generations after her mother, Yvonne Bird, was diagnosed.

A party was held at Allington Court Care Home in Bricket Wood last week where families came together to embrace the idea of the sensory ‘Soundwave Garden’ by playing musical instruments outside.

The event also showcased designs for the garden, which is set to appear at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in July next year.

People of all ages were invited to play percussion instruments with the aim of encouraging more outdoor time for the residents’ mental health, physical wellbeing, and happiness,

Amanda said; “It was seeing how my brother’s children struggled to bond or connect with my mum [that motivated me to design the garden].

“This garden helps people of all ages interact with people with dementia in a way that doesn’t need language or memory.

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“There’s so much research into how being outside can do amazing things for your mental and physical health. The colour green is also known to be very therapeutic.”

Amanda added that Yvonne became noticeably relaxed, breathed more easily, opened her eyes and interacted more fully with her surroundings when outside.

Speaking about why music was incorporated in the ‘Soundwave Garden’, Amanda said: “Your sense of sound is the first sense to come and the last to leave, and you rely on your senses to make sense of the world.

“Music is a wonderful way to connect with someone. Sound can resonate through the body, you can actually feel it, and I want to do anything I can to connect with my mum.”

The ‘Soundwave Garden’ is still seeking funding. If you would like to support the project email