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Raised beds can be made from anything that will hold soil, even old car tyres. Most gardening tools can be easily adapted making buying new ones unnecessary.
Ground cover shrubs will help keep weeds down and add interest. Low growing fruit trees give colour and the benefit of the Autumn harvest. list of ground cover plants.
Garden on a steep slope.
Watering the garden and containers.
Grouping containers together and placing saucers under them, as well as mulching the soil and watering in the evening, when there is less evaporation all saves water and time.
If because of a disability or age, gardening, planting, weeding and watering is becoming a problem, but you enjoy being in your garden and doing it, keep it simple. Light and often is better for your general well-being, and for your garden.
Tips for wheelchair gardeners
Most of the gardening tips on this page, together with the use of some specially adapted tools, will help if you are gardening from a wheelchair. The most important factor will be access to your garden and to be able to garden and get around the garden with ease.
Hard landscaping with smooth paving, turning places, raised edgings especially on corners act as brakes if yours fail, handrails and gentle gradual sloping ramps in place of steps are essential for getting around in a wheelchair.
Good well thought out garden design and hard landscaping, including pathways, Roll out paths can be a good and cheap alternative to having concrete or slab pathways built). and ramps for wheelchair access, will make gardening easier and I have covered recommended width measurements, gradients and layout on the disabled garden layout page .
There is a whole range of specially adapted gardening tools available which are custom made for wheelchair users and the elderly who may find bending and stretching difficult. Some come with attachable extension poles and others have specially modified grab and hold mechanisms. You can even get gardening gloves that have sticky palms. I have included long reach and easy to grip tools and tips on modifying and adapting existing tools on the tools for disabled folk page.
A garden designed or adapted for wheelchair access and mobility can look good and a be a blessing.
Some tools and aids can be adapted or modified yourself. Making and adapting your own gardening tools, to help with your own special physical needs, really can make many difficult or uncomfortable gardening jobs easier and I have a few tips on this page of my website. Adopted gardening tools. If you prefer to buy tools try your local ironmonger or buy online. Large Garden centers charge a lot more.
My Top tips for gardeners with limited mobility.
A summary of my gardening tips for disabled and elderly people working with a disability or from a wheelchair.
If you can't bend easily, raised beds and container growing makes digging and weeding easier.
Having plenty of seats in shady areas where you can sit and ponder and get your breath back whilst digging and weeding.
Large lawns with many curves take a lot of maintenance. Not for me, but artificial grass needs almost zero caring for. Dividing up the area into workable flower or vegetable beds is a better solution, as is paving, or even letting the lawn go wild
and laying paved paths through it if you use a
wheelchair, a walking stick or walking aid.
Walking through a wild lawn is one of life's treats. Much more interesting than those chemically green lawns you can see over the fence! The grand children love exploring and rolling around in it as well. More on the wildflower lawn page
Borders are much easier to maintain if you can reach across them easily. So build your flower borders to be a maximum two foot wide and maybe have flagstones placed in the flower border to kneel down on.
Containers and raised beds look attractive and are ideal if you can't bend. Raising a garden bed just a few inches makes planting, digging and weeding so much easier if you are disabled or using a wheelchair.
Almost anything can be used to make a raised bed as long as it raises the working surface to a level that will make gardening easier. More information on my raised garden beds page.
Ponds are a peaceful feature, but can be high maintenance unless you choose a wildlife pond, planted up with slow growing native British pond plants. If you have a pond avoid pond plants that grow fast or "gulpy" Koi and maintenance will be minimal. If you are use a wheelchair or not too confident on your feet, erect a sturdy rustic fence and handrail around your pond. There's a bit more information about looking after ponds and choosing pond plants on my pond page.
This Wheeled gardening seat is a great gardening aid if you suffer from a bad back that makes bending difficult it reduces the stooping and bending associated with weeding and planting etc.
The swivel tractor-type seat lets you sit and work up to 23" above the ground and roll around on four large 10" diameter pneumatic tires.The tray under the seat is handy to carry your gardeners tools along with you..