Millie Fuller is a creative copywriter at Content ‘n’ Coffee. She has a love of life (and caffeine). When she’s not at her laptop, you’ll find her in the garden or reading. Check out her latest blog post:
Grounded Gardening Advice for People with Restricted Mobility
Gardening is a peaceful and satisfying pastime that can help people improve their mental wellbeing by connecting with nature. Digging in dirt and weeding can be physically taxing and challenging for those with restricted mobility.
Thankfully, numerous tools are available that are designed for those with impairments or restricted physical capabilities. Furthermore, modifications can be made to make your outside environment more accessible.
6 methods for making gardens more accessible
Design doesn’t have to suffer in order to be accessible. It’s indeed possible to make your garden more practical without losing its aesthetic appeal.
Taking the sting out of stairs
Installing ramps to varying levels of your garden – such as patios, decking, and staircases – can let gardeners reach all sections of the space without climbing steps. Any ramp should have a mild gradient and wide, non-skid surface. This will make it easier for those with mobility impairments or needing a wheelchair to climb and descend the ramp.
Handrails and grab bars should be strategically placed
Handrails in the garden can benefit people who need help to navigate its different levels, particularly if they’re unstable on their feet or need a cane.
Dwarf fruit trees are pretty, yet practical
Dwarf fruit trees are functional, visually appealing, and simple to maintain. They grow to a maximum height of 6 feet, making them more manageable, requiring less room than traditional trees, and may be planted in pots or raised beds. They’re also simpler to harvest due to their branches being lower hanging than those on larger trees.
Apples, pears, peaches, plums, and cherries are all available as dwarf trees. Their ‘breed’ names are as follows:
- Apple varieties include ‘Braeburn,’ ‘Red Falstaff,’ and ‘James Grieve.’
- Pear varieties include ‘Concorde’ and ‘Doyenne de Comice.’
- ‘Avalon Pride’ is a peach variety
- Plum varieties include ‘Victoria’ and ‘Black Amber’
- Cherry varieties include ‘Stella,’ ‘Sylvia,’ and ‘Sunburst.’
Elevated planters and beds for those with limited mobility
Raised beds and planters can help those who are wheelchair users or have trouble standing for lengthy periods of time. They minimise the need to reach or lean over, allowing plants to be accessed easier while sitting or standing. Wheelchairs may also be manoeuvred against the bed to take advantage of its stability while working.
Low maintenance shrubs
Plants that require minimal maintenance and occasional watering – like lavender or rosemary – are an excellent choice for those who struggle to care for their garden. They can be grown in raised beds or planters, so a lot of stooping or lifting isn’t required. Additional low-care shrubs include:
- Rhododendrons or azaleas
- Rosemary or thyme
- Boxwood or holly
Clear walkways and paths
Keeping pathways clear improves accessibility. Paths should be broad enough to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers and made of non-slip material, such as cement, brickwork, or slabs.
5 tools for restricted mobility
Adjustable seats for wheelbarrows
Anyone regardless of height or size might easily move their tools about the garden without having to stoop over or exert themselves thanks to an adjustable wheelbarrow seat.
Those with restricted mobility may benefit from long-handled tools since they don’t have to bend to the same extent. Long-handled cultivators, garden shears, and trowels are examples of adaptable tools that make the task easier by enabling the user to stand and maintain a stable footing while caring for their plants.
While they are made for everyone, those who use wheelchairs or can only travel short distances will benefit the most. Robotic lawn mowers have different battery lives and decibel levels and are compact enough to fit between plant rows without harming them.
Mechanical weed pullers
The purpose of weed pullers is to enable users to work upright. The weed is pulled out of the ground at the root by a spike that is embeds the soil. However, they can’t be used by those who aren’t able to stand since they need to be pushed into the ground with the feet in order to work.
Carts for gardening
Garden carts come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, yet all have a level surface so you can easily transport equipment or plants about the garden.
Here are just a few ways to make outside spaces more accessible. Although gardening is an activity that can be quite enjoyable, those with mobility issues may struggle with it. Fortunately, even individuals without gardens can enjoy the pleasure of seeing an indoor plant grow.