Everybody that has a garden deserves to enjoy it and at times, that enjoyment may be limited due to ill health, old age or in some cases, disabilities. Some things can be done that will allow for continued green-fingered fun and a chance to keep your garden looking beautiful whilst giving you years of enjoyment. Creating an enabled garden could be exactly what you need.
So how do we make gardening easier and still enjoyable for people with disabilities? Read on and find out in this month’s blog as we look at how to make a garden more accessible.
What is an accessible garden?
As with many things we use day to day, some can be altered to help ensure that people with disabilities or certain difficulties can still use them in much the same way a person without disabilities can. When it comes to gardening, it is all about making the garden practical. An enabled garden allows this by incorporating things such as raised beds, perhaps an artificial lawn, wider paths, and modified gardening equipment. This can be expensive to put into place, but the good news is, there are grants available to help disabled people continue enjoying their passion for the garden. Thanks to groups like gardening for the disabled adaptations, tool costs and more can all be supported.
So, what can be put in place to make a garden easier to use but still just as rewarding for someone that has more limited mobility?
How to create an accessible garden
There are a few things, either grant-supported or financed by your own means that can make time spent in the garden much easier for somebody with disabilities. Depending on the space at the property, not all may be possible but putting some into place will rapidly make a difference and help provide all that use it with something they can enjoy.
If more than one person lives at the property, consider this in the alterations that may be needed.
Consider your paving options
Whether the disability means that a wheelchair, walking frame or other aid is needed, you should look at how easy it is for the garden to be navigated. Look for a smooth surface that doesn’t present you with slip or trip hazards and won’t hold water. Before making a selection, consider whether all areas of the garden will need to be reached and whether anti-glare paving should be used. Do some areas require direct access? Can some be reached with a curved outer pathway?
Investigate the benefits of an artificial lawn
Grass needs cutting and maintaining to help keep your garden looking as you’d like it but with the variable British weather, you can go through patches where the lawn dies off or grows quicker than you had hoped. Mowing the lawn with a disability may not be a task worth risking, especially if there is no easy way to facilitate it. Instead, investing in an easigrass artificial lawn for example will alleviate the need to keep on top of a further task that could prove dangerous or impossible. Weatherproof, pet-proof and in need of next to no maintenance, an artificial lawn will give you more time to enjoy the colours, scents and calming nature your garden may bring,
Optimise the use of hanging baskets
Hanging baskets help provide vibrant splashes of colour around the garden and can be accessed by people in wheelchairs or those that may use aids to help them walk. There are a variety on the market that work on a system whereby you can move the baskets via a pulley so you never have to do any moving yourself to reach each basket. This then makes replanting, deadheading and watering a simple task.
Consider vertical gardening
If movement may be restricted or bending and kneeling proves to be tricky, gardening upwards can often be a solution. Having plants grow up fences, or trellis can help make gardening easier. It helps remove hazards from the floor for wheelchair users and provides an easier access point for those that may not be able to reach the floor level easily.
Raised garden beds are an easy win
Much like the hanging baskets, raised beds make tending to your flowers and plants much easier. With variable heights available it is made simple for wheelchair users or those who may need walking aids to do more of their favourite gardening tasks. In addition, raised beds can be factored into garden seating. If the two are integrated it makes for an easy access and stunning impact piece for your garden.
Invest in the right gardening tools
Many gardening tasks require certain tools for things to be kept on top of. Luckily as more and more people with disabilities are looking to maintain their gardens, the manufacturers of these tools have begun developing more ergonomic pieces of equipment.
Wheelchair gardeners should consider light tools but also look at the opportunities presented by long-reach ranges and those that have safety locking systems added. In some cases, you may also wish to look for tools that have handles set at right angles to help prevent any strains to the wrist.
Look at how the garden will be watered
Watering the garden may be made harder by disability but there are options. Flowerpots could be added to capillary matting, for example, allowing for moisture to be absorbed when needed. Self-watering systems can also make life much easier, especially for those in a wheelchair. They can be an expensive initial outlay though so give this idea some thought. One potential option is to swap a regular hose for a lance. This makes reaching many items significantly easier and ultimately safer.
Remove the need for weeding the garden
Weeding is a frustrating task for anyone maintaining their garden, and for people in a wheelchair or with mobility issues, it can be hard, in some cases impossible. Instead dress borders, or pots with mulch. This holds in water allowing for slower moisture evaporation and reducing the amount of sunlight that helps cause the weeds to grow. Make it 5cm deep to see the benefit and use bark chippings or well-rotted compost. You can then add a splash of décor to it by adding gravel or sand. When embraced as a planting medium, they provide a harsher environment for weeds to grow.
These are just a few of the many possible things you can do to a garden to make it more user-friendly for a person with disabilities or limited mobility. Should you think an artificial lawn will help, get in touch with The Sussex Artificial Grass Company today! Our versatile artificial lawns provide a durable, safe, vibrant surface to help keep your garden looking fresh and easy to maintain.