Garden design and landscaping for elderly and disabled gardeners How wide does a pathway need to be for a wheelchair. Gradient, camber and materials for paths to make wheelchair access easier. Simple things you can do to make access easier and gardening more enjoyable for elderly and disabled gardeners.
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Garden layout design for elderly and disabled gardeners
If you are a elderly or disabled garden design changes can be made to make gardening and getting around easier!! Smooth paving with places to turn, paths wide enough to take a wheelchair, raised edgings on corners, handrails and gradual slopes are essential for wheelchair gardening. Pathway lighting and spotlights around the raised beds and borders will help to keep on gardening as the nights draw in. Well thought out Lighting can also add interest to a garden and if you are going down the wildlife friendly route, good lighting makes spotting the wildlife visitors easier at night.
If you would like a quote to design and landscape your garden to make it more accessable for wheelchairs and disabled or elderly gardeners.
Garden design and layout tips for disabled and elderly people
garden design and layout tips for elderly and disabled people, the technical stuff and things to consider when building paths, hard surfaces and handrails for people with limited mobility, including wheelchair users, and to those with sensory impairments.
These tips are intended as a basic guide and not as detailed specifications. It is essential that any design conforms with current Building Regulations.
Pathways Paths with a good sound even surface are essential if you are using walking sticks, walking aids or a wheel chair. They should be at least 3ft (two 18" slabs) wide with a turning circle large enough to turn around in. Gravel is a no no, even compacted gravel makes walking with sticks or driving your wheel chair really difficult. Remember even rivened slabs are slippery when wet or icy. Having a slight slope for water run off is a good idea. If your path is going to run over different levels, gradual slopes are better than steps. Its also a good idea to fit handrails on the slopes.
How wide should a pathway for a wheelchair be ? 1.8m for 2 wheelchairs or two people side by side. 1.2m for a wheelchair with person alongside. Paths running along the house should take account of windows that open outwards.
Gradient of paths 1:15 - recommended maximum gradient. 1:20 - preferred maximum gradient.A gradient of 1:12 is the maximum given in the British Standards. In practice this gradient is too steep for older people and wheelchair users. A slightly steeper gradient over a shorter distance may be easier to handle than a gentler one over a long distance. Long gradients of more than 1:20 should have level resting areas at about every 30m. Camber 1:100 - preferred maximum Cambers present difficulties for both wheelchair users and people with visual impairments.
Pathway surfaces for the elderly and disabled. Path surfaces should be firm, level, non-glare and non-slip when wet or dry. Gravel, cobbles and uneven setts are not recommended. Hard surfaces must have a well-consolidated sub-base to avoid the surface cracking up or shifting. Hard landscaping with easy access for the elderly or disabled gardener.
Building materials. Materials for paths and hard surfaces should be carefully chosen for safe and comfortable use by disabled people and wheelchair users. Surfaces need to be well constructed with a firm, non-slip, level access. Again gravel is unsuitable but there is a wide range of materials available.
Concrete is low cost, durable and low maintenance. Unattractive but surface can be textured to give extra grip.
Tarmac is also low cost and low maintenance. Good durability as long its laid correctly. Its durable and low maintenance. Again unattractive but can be surfaced with other materials to give attractive finish. Should be laid between solid edges. 'Stickiness' in hot weather can be a problem.
Brick paviors are expensive but attractive with range of colours and grades. Good construction is essential - poorly laid bricks are a hazard.
Wood medium to high cost but looks good and is natural. the main problem is its relatively short life and it can be slippery. Must be well laid in the direction of travel so as not to trap wheelchair wheels.
Cobbles are expensive and provide a difficult surface for most disabled people, allthough they can be set low to make a smoother surface. Slabs/flagstones make a good surface when correctly laid, flat surfaces can be slippery in the wet but can come with a slightly roughed surface. Best laid with a slight slope or close butted (without mortar) for water run off.
Handrails Handrails along ramps or steps will provide welcome, often essential, support to people with limited mobility.The following is intended as a basic guide and not as detailed specifications. It is essential that any design meets current Building Regulations.
Handrails should be fitted for steps, ramps, abrupt changes in level or where people with walking difficulties are likely to need extra support.
The Rail diameter should be comfortable to the grip not to narrow or to wide, 45-50mm is about right. The Rail height depends on the height of the user. The norm is 850mm above step nosing or ramp surface and 1m above landing.Double rails should be fitted for people using a wheelchair with the lower rail height about 750 mm. Rails should extend approximately 450 mm beyond the ramp
Materials that give a firm and comfortable grip should be used. Metal is uncomfortable when cold or wet, and is better coated nylon of plastic . Good quality, non-splintering hardwood is more comfortable to the touch.
The most important factor is access and a layout enabling mobility for you to garden with ease.
Changes that can be made to equipment, gardening tools and access to make getting around easier and more enjoyable for disabled people
Simple and cheap changes can be made to access, layout, tools and equipment to help reduce the physical stress of gardening for elderly and gardeners with a disability.
Raised beds make the garden more accessible for planting and harvesting also using trellis to grow plants and vegetables up helps to avoid bending and stooping.
Retractable hanging baskets, wheelbarrows and fixing castors on plant containers to make them easily reposistioned.
Use lightweight tools that are easier to handle and long handled gardening tools that have been specialy adapted for elderly or disabled folk like the ones I have selected below. Or you can adapt your own gardening tools to make them more comfortable to use with foam, tape and plastic tubing etc.
Have plenty of easily accesible shade areas for working during hot weather in Summer and shelters to escape the rain in Winter.
Have stable chairs and easily accesible tables spread around to take frequent breaks and have a drink.
Drink plenty of water or juice especially on hot days.
Ensure that there are taps near to container planted plants and seed beds or maybe install a drip feeder system for easy watering.
Its a good idea to have quick and easy access to a toilet.
Long reach, stainless steel gardening tools Allow you to work in the garden without bending or from a seat. The handle is positioned so that the wrist can remain in a natural position while working.
Soft kneelers The Soft kneeler and seat is a gardeners boon. The garden kneeler is Ideal for Getting up and down in the garden without straining the back and knees,
For more information and prices of adapted tools visit the active mobility website gardening tools for disabled gardeners
Its a safe place to browse and shop for tools and equipment adapted for the disabled gardener. Mike.
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Edited and published by Mike Ballard Feel free to scrape my landscape gardeners tips providing you link back to www.flowerpotman.com