Backyard Sensory Rock Garden

by Kimberly Wallace


Last year, while staying up late searching through Pinterest, I stumbled upon a dinosaur small world garden. Of course I had to make something like this happen for my dino lover! My goal was to buy as little as possible and upcycle what we already had. This project was work, but in the end it turned out to be the epicenter of our outside play all summer long. 

I've been asked if the rocks have been thrown around and how does my child play in there? My oldest turned 4 last august, he was a little bit older and my youngest wasn't even 1 yet, and the rocks actually did stay in their place. This year I'll have an almost 2 year old in there so I will give an update on his take of the garden! As far as how my son played in there, he would bring his toys in there, he loved the sand pit, and the river was always used for his dinosaurs. Plus the plants were great hiding spots for T-Rex to spot his prey. He'd bring in all kinds of animals and enjoyed his gnome village. It gave him his own spot in the yard and was the place he went right to when we got outside. 

Here's what went into ours-

•My husband built the frame out of wood he had and laid down weed control paper

•He then took a piece of scrap flexible vinyl and made the  S separation for rocks and dirt 

•I sifted and cleaned all of the rocks in that photo. They were from an old garden we removed many years ago

•Planted a few different plants- I really wanted that grass plant and it did not disappoint. It was perfect there and grew to a nice size. My son also loved that he was responsible for watering and taking care of them

•Spray painted rocks in various shades of blues to create a river

•Spray painted flower pots and turned them over to make "houses"

• Spray painted those little wooden houses, some sea shells and a few tree branches

• I had a shallow metal tray I had never used, so my husband drilled holes in the bottom to allow rain to drain, and we used it for a sand pit

•Grabbed some old bricks to make a ramp, that also ended up being a seat for my son at times

• Found the dinosaurs second hand on the market place

• The cars are all sand toys, I thought they will hold up best outside

• Bottom left corner is a small fairy village using all items from the Dollar Tree

• Top left corner are solar light statues. They represent our love ones lost. I brought my son to the store and let him pick out what he felt was best for each one of them (this was so special to him!) 

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