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Accessible Gardening For People With Disabilities

Updated on March 7, 2013

Therapeutic Gardening Is Within Your Grasp!

Accessible gardening opens a world of fun, relaxation and productivity for people of all ages and levels of ability.
Accessible gardening opens a world of fun, relaxation and productivity for people of all ages and levels of ability. | Source

Sticky, Grippy Gloves Help You Hang Onto Your Tools!

Tips To Help You Garden From Your Wheelchair

Whether you have a permanent disability or are simply recovering from a skiing mishap, if you are an avid gardener, you will not let a little thing like using a wheelchair keep you out of the garden! Luckily, gardening is an activity that anyone can enjoy at any level of ability. It just takes some creativity and some adaptation. Read on to learn how you can enjoy gardening from your wheelchair.

Make The Most Of Gardening Therapy With Adapted Tools

When you are using a wheelchair, you do not want to drop whatever tool you happen to be using. It’s really hard to pick things up from the ground, and if the item rolls off into an inaccessible area, you are out of luck. You can avoid dropping things by using sports gloves with sticky fingers. These can be purchased online at any big website such as Amazon or eBay. You can also make gardening tool handles bigger if that helps you by adding pipe insulation wrap or bicycle handlebar grips.

It’s often hard to reach things when you are sitting in a wheelchair. That’s why a reacher (a tool that extends your reach) is a good investment for planting things and for picking up the occasional dropped item. You can also make the handles of your gardening tools longer by extending them with PVC pipe. To get a secure fit, you would get PVC pipe of a circumference that will just almost fit around the handle of the tool. Cut the pipe to the desired length and then set it in a 325 degree oven for five minutes. Using oven mitts, remove it from the oven and quickly push the handle of the tool into the end of the pipe. Carefully set it aside until it is completely cool.

Good Wheelchair Garden Plans Enhance Access

You can eliminate a lot of reaching and struggling if you adapt the height of your garden to the height of your wheelchair. You can do this by having raised bed gardens built about two or two and a half feet high. Don’t make them too big because you won’t be able to reach the center of the bed if you do. They shouldn't be any wider than four feet across. If you just have a porch, patio or windowsill for gardening, use containers for a compact raised bed option that allows you to place your containers at exactly the perfect height.

Other ways to make your garden more accessible include using trellises and hanging baskets. Which you choose depends on your abilities. If it is easier for you to sit up straight and reach up, growing climbing plants using trellises, walls, string, fences, arbors and so forth is a great idea. If you only have a small space, hanging baskets can work really well on a balcony, patio or porch. You can hang them at just the height that is easiest for you to reach.

Accessible Gardens Need Smooth, Safe Pathways

No matter what type of wheelchair gardening you choose, you must be sure that you have safe, smooth, wide pathways for easy wheelchair access. It’s hard to find just the right material because ideally, you would want something that is smooth and firm and won’t hurt too much if you happen to fall out of your chair. Gravel is right out! Soil that is highly compacted may be alright. Wood chips are good, but they get displaced easily and have to be refreshed often. Wood decking pathways with ramps of no more than five percent grade are good and are a nice investment in the garden.

What Are Your Accessible Gardening Tips?

It’s easy to see that no matter what your ability level, gardening can be an enjoyable and satisfying activity. It just takes some creativity and determination to choose the right type of gardening and design the garden in a way that makes it easy for people of all levels of ability to be involved. If you have come across adaptive ideas that make gardening easier for people with I hope you will share them with us in the comments section!


Copyright:SuzanneBennett:March 7, 2013

Comments

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  • justmesuzanne profile imageAUTHOR

    justmesuzanne 

    5 years ago from Texas

    Thanks! :)

  • Aunt Jimi profile image

    Aunt Jimi 

    5 years ago from The reddest of the Red states!

    Never thought about people in wheelchairs gardening. Some very good tips here.

  • justmesuzanne profile imageAUTHOR

    justmesuzanne 

    5 years ago from Texas

    Many thanks! I appreciate it! :)

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 

    5 years ago from Houston, Texas

    Thought that I would share this hub of yours on Twitter. Good information here!

  • justmesuzanne profile imageAUTHOR

    justmesuzanne 

    5 years ago from Texas

    Many thanks! :)

  • Indian Chef profile image

    Indian Chef 

    5 years ago from New Delhi India

    Suzanne this is very useful hub for the people who like to do gardening and are unfortunate to be on wheel chair. Voting it up and awesome.

  • justmesuzanne profile imageAUTHOR

    justmesuzanne 

    5 years ago from Texas

    Many thanks! :)

  • FlourishAnyway profile image

    FlourishAnyway 

    5 years ago from USA

    Great topic with useful ideas. Whether people are temporarily or permanently in this situation, it is so important to stay active and involved. Gardening -- even on a small scale -- is a healthy way to do that. Thumbs up!

  • justmesuzanne profile imageAUTHOR

    justmesuzanne 

    5 years ago from Texas

    Many thanks! :)

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 

    5 years ago from Houston, Texas

    I agree with teaches. This is a wonderful hub filled to the brim with good suggestions in helping people with disabilities still be able to enjoy their gardening. Up and useful votes.

  • justmesuzanne profile imageAUTHOR

    justmesuzanne 

    5 years ago from Texas

    Thanks, Teaches! :)

  • teaches12345 profile image

    Dianna Mendez 

    5 years ago

    What a novel post and one that I am sure many will find so useful. It is encouraging to know that the things you enjoy are always possible.

  • justmesuzanne profile imageAUTHOR

    justmesuzanne 

    5 years ago from Texas

    I'm glad I could help! Many thanks, Chris! :)

  • lovemychris profile image

    Leslie McCowen 

    5 years ago from Cape Cod, USA

    My sister's husband is in a wheel-chair....sending this to her asap!

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