Arc of Onondaga Sensory Garden

C&S designed a sensory garden at the headquarters of Arc of Onondaga in Syracuse. Since 1951, Arc of Onondaga has served people with developmental disabilities and their family members. Arc provides residential, vocational, clinical, and habilitative services along with other vital resources to help people achieve their fullest potential. This garden is specifically designed to be a space where people can experience the garden on multiple levels: through sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. The bold layout of the proposed design is meant to be enjoyed from inside the building or the surrounding parking lot as well as from within the garden space. Interpretive signage at the entrance provides educational information about the garden. A wide, accessible path draws visitors toward a raised water feature that backs up to an existing wall. Small and large boulders create dynamic shapes that align with a checkerboard pattern on the path. In the planting beds, soft grasses and perennials are juxtaposed against prickly coniferous evergreens. Large decorative pots raise culinary herbs and fruits to a height which is accessible to visitors on foot or in wheelchairs. Four-season interest was considered in the planting scheme: spring offers fragrant flowering shrubs and bulbs, annuals and perennials provide flowers and fruit in the summer, fall brings colorful foliage, and trees and grasses provide interesting forms during winter. Trees and shrubs were selected with flowers and berries to attract birds and butterflies, which also bring life, sound and movement to the space. The Arc of Onondaga sensory garden was designed to engage and enliven all visitors, including those with developmental disabilities, handicaps or sensory impairment.