If a family member or friend has a hard
time getting about and working in a traditional garden, you can help by
designing one that's easier for them to enjoy. It has the benefit
of being easier to tend, and a whole lot kinder to your aching back and
Select an easily-accessible site for the garden and/or flower beds. The
closer it is to the house exits and entrances, the more often it will be
Garden paths should level or slope no more than one in in every 12
inches, and will have to be paved for wheelchair use. A non-slip
surface will reduce the chance of accidents. Porous concrete will
eliminate standing water and algae build-up on concrete paths, but it's
quite expensive. On traditional concrete, roughen the surface with
a stiff broom before it sets. Avoid sharp turns and narrow spaces
that make access difficult.
the beds in raised gardens so the gardener can reach the center
comfortably without stretching. Be sure that pathways are wide enough
for easy passage and are made of material that allows access even after
the rain. Trimming the top edges of narrow wood or metal-edged
raised beds with plastic drain pipe or even old garden hose makes
leaning against them more comfortable. Slit the pipe or hose
lengthwise, pry open the slit and push down over the tops of the raised
bed edging. With metal brackets, you can also add removable
trellises to the sides of raised beds to support climbing plants.
Install hanging plants with readily
available pulley devices that allow the pot to be lowered for watering
and tending, or just to enjoy.
A convenient water source is critical. Dragging hoses around the
garden may be the hardest and most frustrating aspect of keeping the
garden beautiful. Long hoses curling over the pathways make it
hard to move around, not to mention, are also a hazard.
Drip irrigation systems or soaker hoses eliminate most of the
work. Or you could have plenty of water outlets installed and use
short hoses. Lever faucets are easier to turn on and off than
shutoff valves stop water loss and resulting slippery areas while hoses
are being moved. In addition, long-handled water wands are also a
tremendous convenience for garden work regardless of how spry you are!
Store all tools and supplies where they're easy to collect on the way to
the garden, or even better, include a small storage area right in the
garden. Small hand tools, a bit of fertilizer and similar supplies
fit easily in a large rural route mailbox that can be mounted on a post
A carpenter's apron can also come in handy for holding a gardener's
tools. If the gardener is wheelchair bound, a handy organizational
pouch with a Velcro strap to attach to the chair is a great help.
Finally, don't forget a comfortable sitting area. Family, friends
and gardeners appreciate a place to take a break and enjoy the results
of their hard work.
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