Creating an

Accessible Garden

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Creating an Accessible Garden for Disabled Gardeners

Last updated: April 18th 2017 Your disability doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying a beautiful garden. You can care for the plants within your garden and get out in nature as often as you like, if your garden has been specifically designed with your disability in mind then you should be able to get around it just find and tend to the plant life without much trouble.

We are going to look at a few ways you can set up your garden so that it is fitted to meet your specific needs. Keep in mind that you will probably need to hire a professional to come in and do some of this for you, but once the changes have been completed, your garden will be much easier to enjoy.

create a garden accessible for disabled gardeners

Improving Garden Accessibility

The first thing you want to do to make your garden more convenient for you to use is to make it accessible. If you can’t reach every area of your garden, you won’t be able to enjoy it or tend to it properly. If you already have a garden in place, then this will likely require the most extensive changes to pull off. You may have to redesign your entire garden around your accessibility needs, or you may just need to update a few things here and there. we are going to look at a few ways you may want to make changes to your garden to make it easier on you to move through all of it without any hassle at all.

garden wheelchair ramps improve accessibility

Access Ramps To Your Garden

When parts of your garden are at different levels to one another, you will be better able to reach each level with some ramps installed. Even for those who are not wheelchair bound, having ramps in place instead of steps can make it much easier to get around. If you are going to be walking up and down the ramps, you may want to place handrails on the side for easier traversal.

If you opt for steps instead of ramps, a handrail is still a good idea, as it will help keep you steady as you go up and down from one level to the next.

Wide, Clear Pathways

Every area of the garden should have a path to it. Depending on the kind of soil you have and how easily you can get around, it may be necessary to have paved pathways. In some cases, it would be beneficial to pave the entire garden except for where the plants are. That means less maintenance for you, as the grass would not have to be mowed if its covered with a concrete or tile path. Be cautious about going with separated tiles, as that can make it hard for wheelchairs to get across, can create uneven ground for walking on and can make it much harder to trim the grass effectively, as the grass may grow up between the tiles.

garden paths help disabled access

Paths should be wide enough for you to not only travel on but also turn around. Paths should also have gradual, easy curves, instead of sharp corners. That will make it easer to navigate through them and ensure that you can see any obstruction as you approach it.

It’s a good idea to make multiple paths to and from every location in the garden. That way, if there is an obstruction, such as a branch having been blown down by a strong wind, then you can get around it and still access the entire garden. Multiple paths also allow you to go from one area of the garden to another without having to turn around or manoeuver in a tight space.

Changes For Convenience

There is plenty that can be done to the garden to make it more convenient for you. Some changes will be small while others will take some serious time and effort, but once the work is done and the garden is made convenient for you to work in and move around in, you will be thankful for the effort that was put in.

Garden Seating and Benches

It’s a good idea to have some seats installed throughout the garden area. That way, you can stop and rest whenever you need to. They should be placed at a convenient location where they won’t take up necessary space and where you will want to stop and spend some time. They should also be placed close enough together that you don’t have to walk for too long without a bench to rest on.

secure garden seating helps with accessibility

The kind of seats you choose will be up to you, but you should look at your options. Concrete benches will be simple and cheap, but something with a back or some padding or even placed under an umbrella will provide more comfort. You don’t necessarily have to make all your benches extravagant ones, and you can pick and choose which ones you want to spend a bit more money on, to give your garden variety and to ensure that there is some comfortable seating available.

raised beds offer better disabled access

Accessible Borders and Raised Beds

The borders for your planting areas should be small enough that you can reach across them to the other side. You need enough space for your plants to grow, but you also need to be able to reach the entire planting area from one side. This will ensure you don’t need to go all the way around to the other side of the planting area to tend to your plants.

The border walls should also be short enough that you can access the entire planting area without standing up from a wheelchair. You should be able to sit down and tend to the plants and reach across the entire planting area easily. If the walls are too high, you can always have them lowered without harming your plants in the process.

You should consider going with raised beds for your plants, as you can sit down and tend to them and not have to kneel all the way down on the ground. You can also move a wheelchair around them easily and work on them without having to stand up or get out of the chair. You can have the beds raised to the height that is right for you. Just be sure that they are comfortable for your individual needs.

Changes For Easy Maintenance

It will likely be difficult for you to keep up the garden on your own. To make it easier for you, you should consider designing a garden layout that decreases your workload and that makes the garden easier to maintain.

curved gardens are easier to maintain

Getting Rid of Corners

Any corners in your garden are going to be difficult to access and will produce hard-to-cut grass. By curving every inch of your garden and eliminating corners, you will make it much easier to trim hedges, cut the grass and just get around the garden.

Wild Garden Areas

Not every aspect of your lawn must be carefully manicured and trimmed. You might find you enjoy a lawn that is running a little bit wild. If you sow some wild lawn seed and let your plants grow uninhibited, it will reduce the stress for you and create a beautiful natural look for the garden.

For those parts of the lawn that are hard to maintain, you may want to replace them with walkways or concrete pavers. That gives you more room to move around easily and gives you less work to do to keep up the garden.

wild gardens are attractive and easy to maintain

Choose the Right Plants

Even when picking out the plants to grow in your garden, you should be thinking about how easy it will be on you to maintain and care for those. Not all plants are going to be easy to tend to, so try to choose ones that won’t require much work and that can grow well on their own.

Here are a few plants that require little to no maintenance and that will grow well most of the year without much help at all:

  • Firelight spiraea
  • Blue lyme grass
  • Wooly thyme
  • Quartz rose verbena
  • Purple prince butterfly bush
  • Rockspray cotoneaster
  • Dwarf globe blue spruce

There are many more, but that may give you some ideas for what might look good in your garden. You can always talk to a landscaping expert or gardening professional to find out what plants they recommend for your area. They can help you find a few selections that will be manageable for you and for whatever limitations you may have. To really enjoy your garden, you need to design it to suit your needs, and picking the right plants is a big part of that. Choosing high-maintenance plants will simply frustrate you.

Using The Right Tools

The tools you use need to be suitable for your needs. The average wheelbarrow or watering system may not work very well in your situation, and you want to be sure that you have access to tools that you can use.

One-handed wheelbarrows, automated watering systems and other tools that are designed for ease of use can make your life a lot easier. Your local landscaping service is likely to either have these available or they will be able to order them for you. Once you consider accessibility options for gardening tools, you might be surprised at how many selections there are available.

gardening tools for disabled gardeners can help

Keeping Your Garden Safe

Inclement weather can damage your garden and make it difficult for you to get around, if it knocks down trees or branches or topples chairs. You will want to take some measures to ensure that your garden is kept safe, even during the roughest weather.

tree inspections and trimming help prevent falling branches

The Benefits of Tree Trimming

One of the best ways to do that is to have your trees trimmed and inspected every so often. Tree trimming and even tree removal services ensure that there are no unsafe trees in your garden and that you are less likely to have to deal with branches on your garden paths. It may be difficult to remove branches and other debris from your garden on your own, so having the trees inspected every so often will lower your chances of having to encounter this problem at all.

Securing Benches, Chairs and Bins

It can also help to have all benches and chairs secured to the ground or to a concrete pad. That way, even if heavy winds hit your garden, these items won’t fall over and cause you inconvenience. The same should hold true for umbrellas and other shade devices, which can be knocked over by gusts of wind. If they are secured to a pad, that won’t be a problem.

Any bins you have placed around the garden, such as for holding tools or collecting rubbish and garden waste, should also be secured. Basically, anything that could blow onto the paths and obstruct your access to the garden needs to be securely fastened in such a way that it can’t be knocked over. Or it can simply be stored away somewhere it won’t be an issue.

Tidying Gardening Tools

Gardening tools should not be left out where they can obstruct paths either, or left in a place where they can fall out of reach or into pathways. They need to be secured to a wall on fasteners that are secure enough they won’t can blow off. Or, they can be placed in a shed, out of the way, where there is no chance they will cause obstruction.

secure gardening tools in a shed or to a wall for accessibility

Accessible Gardens, Your Way

You don’t have to be limited by how other people have designed and arranged their gardens. Your garden can be suited to your specific needs. You just need to find a landscaping and gardening service that is willing and able to accommodate you and to design your garden in the way that you want. Don’t give up on getting the garden of your dreams, there are services out there that will be willing to accommodate you. The perfect garden, that is easy to maintain and completely accessible to you, is attainable. Knowing how to make it that way is part of the process, and hopefully this guide has helped you do that.