Our gardens can become inaccessible when we use a wheelchair or have difficulty bending, walking or kneeling.
Sometimes becoming just something we look at through the window, watching the tidy borders gradually being taken over by weeds and the lawn left overgrown.
We could stay indoors surfing the net or watching television and pay someone to weed the borders and mow the lawn
BUT there's a better way! Make the garden accessible, enabling folk to get out again.
What is an Enabled
It's quite simply a garden that has been made user-friendly by designing and adapting pathways, surfaces and levels to make access easier, to be able to work, or simply spend time in your garden relaxing.
Some times these simple pleasures are denied us, made difficult by age, illness or injury that might make bending, stretching even walking painful. Put another way, it's a garden for a disabled person or a garden for an elderly person who still wants to get out into the garden.
How do we design and construct an enabled garden?
Consult with you to work out your priorities, maybe it's as simple as access to the garden to sit and relax on sunny days or to tend your plants, it could be you want access to the whole garden. You decide, we point out the practicalities. Send a written quote detailing the cost for the work and materials, you then decide if you want to go ahead.
Build wider paths.
with sound surfaces. To tenable us to walk with our sticks and use our wheeled seats or wheelchairs and other mobility aids to get into and around the garden. Hard surfaces are much better for
wheelchairs and walking sticks than gravel. Width and materials are discussed on my garden layout for the elderly page.
If your garden slopes, lay pathways with ramps instead of steps.
If your garden slopes, build pathways with ramps instead of steps, Gentle slopes are easier to walk or get a wheelchair up than steps.
1:20 is the preferred maximum gradient. A gradient of 1:12 is the maximum given in the British Standards. In practice, this is a bit steep for older people and wheelchair users. Although a slightly steeper gradient over a shorter distance may be easier to handle than a gentler one over a long distance.
Long gradients should have level resting areas set at about every 3meters.
Raised garden beds can be installed making weeding and planting less of a challenge for our bad backs, shaky legs and arthritic joints.
Sleeper raised beds, laid on their sides are great for sitting on, to weed and sow or just to sit and relax. Plan the width to allow you to be able to reach into the center of the bed without leaning or stretching. Many materials can be used to construct raised beds, I have listed some on my raised beds page.
Containers like pots or buckets can be placed on a table
or raised frame to use as smaller plant beds. Set the height to make them comfortable for working from a standing, leaning or seated position.
Handrails and grab rails are an important part of an enabled garden design.
Anyone who is finding gardening more and more difficult can benefit from an enabling garden.
Raised beds can make it easier for gardeners with a bad back to work without stooping.
Wide paths fitted with handrails can enable gardeners in wheelchairs.
People who suffer from lack of strength or finger flexibility or arthritis.
For gardeners with chronic back pain. Bending, lifting and twisting are movements which can exacerbate the problem, but by making even basic changes to garden layout, like wider pathways and raised beds, gardeners with "bad backs" can be enabled to keep on gardening.
Raising the level of your garden from ground level to waist high by installing raised garden beds. Reduces the amount of bending to tend your plants, helping to alleviate any stress to chronic back pain sufferers.
Garden in raised beds or containers that minimise bending and stooping.
Make the garden accessible by installing pathways three feet wide, with a non-slippery surface with handrails or hand grips.
Use light-weight tools with thick handles that are easy on your joints. Use kneelers and pads.
Specially adapted tools for easy grip are available from this page on my site tools for the disabled
Above all else pace yourself and take a rest now and then.
A Clear Pathway that is easy to navigable and is unobstructed.
1:15recommended maximum gradient.
1:20 is the preferred maximum gradient. A gradient of 1:12 is the maximum given in the British Standards. In practice, this gradient is to steep for older people and wheelchair users. Although 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.