How to Design a Soothing & Safe Garden for a child with ADHD

A garden that is safe and calm helps soothe a child with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Everyone knows that a child with ADHD functions better in an environment that is neat and orderly. In this regard, a garden that exhibits the same characteristics of order and structure will be beneficial. Adapted gardens become safe havens for children with special needs that will, at the same time, nurture their sensory experience and provide stimuli for growth and development. Among children aged 4-17, 11% or 6.4 million have been diagnosed with ADHD according to CDC 2011-2012 statistics. The percentage of ADHD diagnosis varies by state with a low of 5.6% in Nevada and a high of 18.7% in Kentucky. In Montana, 9.1% of children suffer from ADHD based on CDC reports.

A Garden That is Safe

One of the interventions to help children with the symptoms of ADHD is to provide a safe refuge such as a garden. In designing a garden, it is important to consider your kid’s safety. There should be no buckets with water or sources of water where small children can drown. Tools and implements must be put away to avoid clutter and disorder. Quality fencing is important for the garden should be a place where your child feels safe. If you are to designate a playground, choose an area that is near to the house where you can supervise your kid even if you are indoors.


A Garden That Calms and Stimulates

A kid with ADHD gets easily distracted. While this does not mean that you should make the garden bald to minimize distractions, you must strike the right balance between bareness and sensory overload. Design the garden with a combination of flower beds, shrubs, and trees. You can even put a water fountain as your garden’s centerpiece. The sound of water is also relaxing for a child who is stressed or upset. Make sure though that it is out of reach for very young children and stable so that older kids will not topple it. Clean your water fountains regularly so that you can prolong their life and enjoy their beauty.  


Make the garden a place where your child can go for some time out or an area where they can do homework (weather-permitting) in peace and calm. It is also that patch where your child can play outdoors releasing unspent energy by running, playing or exercising. Involving them in activities such as planting, weeding or raking ensure that the plot is neat and clean.


Gardens are important spaces for everyone, young or old. It can even become a potential treatment for children with ADHD, a place where they can relax, play or just chill.  

Written by: Jane Sandwood