Jena here. I’m a…
mom of twins.
a landscape architect.
a nature play nerd.
Over the past 20 years I’ve worn lots of hats (and still do); professional landscape architect and artist, university instructor, farmer, traveler…but, my favorite hats are Momma and tireless nature play advocate.
I’ve been designing children’s nature-based play, learning, and therapeutic landscapes since 2000 and have been obsessed with nature play even before the term was coined. As an advocate, I speak national and internationally about the value of nature play, inclusion, and creating supportive environments for ALL children, including those with special needs…autism and sensory processing disorder in particular.
You want to know what I value as a designer? Being able to “walk the walk. I’m building a children’s sensory garden in my own yard. Yeah, it’s a pretty big undertaking but it’s been amazing. I’m building the sensory garden primarily for my twins because I know the immense benefit this garden will bring to them, now and in the future.
I’m building our sensory garden because I want to inspire you to do the same and your success matters to me. I want you to feel like you can bring nature play home, too – even with the craziness of raising tiny humans, working, and everything else you do.
Our garden is my learning lab, and I will share will building process (DIY forever, baby!), how different materials stand the test of time, tried-and-true plant selection, the true costs and maintenance efforts involved, and so much more.
More than ever, our home landscapes need to be multi-dimensional. Yards cannot be just ornamental, especially if you have children. Your yard is your kiddo’s daily landscape. It must be a place where their imaginations take flight, where they explore, discover, and learn, and where they find sensory balance and therapeutic value. Use this precious space for nature play and you’ll see your kids blossom. I guarantee it.
My goal on this site is to bring you information through blog posts, images, and (coming soon!) videos on the construction of our sensory garden. My goal is to inspire you to act. Even if you’re not a DIY’er or have a green thumb, I want you to have the confidence in tackling a project, big or small, at your home, school, or wherever your children play.
So, welcome to our nature play microcosm, to our sensory garden. I’m so glad you’re here!