Creating An Accessible Garden For Someone You Love

Image via Pexels - CC0 Licence 

If you're a keen gardener, you'll understand all the joy and health benefits - both mental and physical - that creating your own outdoor space can bring. From very small children to our elder citizens,
the simple act of tending to plants and creating something out of the soil can feel redemptive and very
special. Connecting us to the natural world, cleaning our air, giving us opportunities to learn and create
and supplying us with beautiful homegrown vegetables, fruits and flowers - there are so many great
reasons to enjoy. If you have a loved one with restricted mobility, you may want to give them all the
benefits stated above - but be struggling to think how. Luckily, when you design with inclusivity in mind, it
is possible to create a garden that is both accessible and beautiful. 

Pay Attention To Pathways

Accessible pathways are the first key to having a garden which is welcoming to everyone. You need to
ensure individuals with limited movement or mobility aids can move through the space safely and easily.
Keep pathways to a minimum of at least 5 feet wide, and check that the surface is smooth and level with
any large cracks filled in. Another thing to think about is drainage - where water is allowed to pool on
pathways it can create slip hazards. Where there are level changes to overcome, try to build a ramp or
purchase an aluminium folding ramp and consider hand rails as well. 

Raise Up Your Beds 

One of the challenges for gardeners with disabilities can be the working height of vegetable or flower
beds. So try designing a garden with raised beds to make it more accessible. Use bricks or concrete blocks and top with wooden planters filled with soil - you can make them a custom height depending on
the loved one that you have in mind. Try to make them accessible on more than one side, as your loved
one may have a limited reach, or if that isn't possible, aim to restrict the width to two feet or less.
A greenhouse is a great idea to place things up on shelving units or a potting table where they can be
more easily reached. These are especially useful for wheelchair users who can slide their chair
underneath so that the working surface is over their lap. 

Use Containers And Trellises 

Container gardens are another great idea for those with limited mobility. They allow you to raise plants up and make them far easier to access. Make sure the bases of these planters are stable and weighted down so that they don't topple over if they get leaned on. Another great idea is hanging baskets at a usable level, or perhaps even on a pulley system so that they can be lowered and raised for planting sessions or care. You could also install a trellis and train either vine plants like beans or grapes to climb up it, or beautiful flowers like wisteria or honeysuckle. You could also use trellising to attach small pots so you can work with containers again to make gardening more accessible.

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