As the final preparations are being made before its showcase garden is revealed at this year’s Bloom garden festival, the Dementia: Understand Together campaign has published its Top Tips for a Dementia-friendly Garden.

The tips, which include recommended plants to stimulate the memory, are available online at They have been compiled as part of the Dementia: Understand Together campaign, led by the HSE in partnership with the Alzheimer Society of Ireland and Genio, which aims to create an Ireland that embraces and includes people with dementia, and which displays solidarity with them and their loved ones.

The campaign’s dementia-friendly showcase garden will feature in Dublin’s Phoenix Park at Bord Bia’s Bloom from May 31 to June 4. It has been designed by the Dementia-friendly Garden Team, which is a collaboration between Newtown Saunders Ltd., TrinityHaus (Trinity College Dublin) and Sonas apc.

Top Tips for a Dementia-friendly Garden:

1. Garden Layout – try to ensure that your garden is easy to access, has a straightforward layout and is easy to get around, and can be seen from inside your home. Paths and patios should be level, non-slip and a single colour. Provide handrails for ease of mobility, and include accessible features such as raised planters.

2. Planting – choose plants that stir the senses with vibrant colours and beautiful scents. Think about using plants that are interesting to touch, as well as those that are well-known and stimulate fond memories. We recommend:

a. Hydrangea
b. Pinks/carnations
c. English lavender
d. Japanese maple
e. Oxeye daisy

3. Familiar features – make the garden personal and include items in the garden that link with the person’s past, e.g. a vegetable patch, familiar plants, a bird table and a milk churn.

4. Opportunity to relax – provide shelter and seating in the garden to sit back, take it all in and enjoy time out with family and friends. It might be helpful if seating is located where you can see back to your house and to family and friends inside.

5. Easy to potter – have tools and garden equipment that are nearby, clearly visible, and easy to use. This will support gardening activities which can be hugely therapeutic and afford excellent opportunities to reminisce.