Accessible Gardening Environments
ideal accessible garden has paved paths so a wheelchair user can
maneuver around with ease. Obviously hiring a contractor to pave
or lay a brick floor is very expensive, but if you think you can
afford it, don't hesitate! You'll thank yourself for years to come
and this will allow other wheelers to come visit and relax with
you. But whatever paths you have should be wide enough to turn around
in or make U-turns (a 60 inch turning radius is the standard rule).
You must have access to the front, back, and sides of your planting
beds, either by reach or using long-handled tools. It helps to draw
a plan on paper.
If you can't afford to lay pavement down or a
brick floor, an all-terrain wheelchair will make it easier to roll
over uneven surfaces and wide-tread tires are kinder to grass. Laying
wood planks down will provide a smoother rolling surface, but probably
ruin your lawn.
Set up equipment to make it convenient for frequent
use. Pull a cart with wheels along or a wagon with supplies if you
can. Or, keep a cart set up in a convenient location. Hang bags
of tools from them, and stash tools around your garden that you'll
reach for ofteneven duplicates. If you have space, set up
a tool shed.
For those who are blind or have visual impairments,
raised beds are closer for locating, touching, and smelling. Try
planting herbs or flowers with a nice fragrance, such as basil and
hyacinths. Also use plants distinguishable by texture, such as ferns
and soft petal flowers. Hang up a wind chime to orient yourself
to a specific part of your garden. Wind chimes can also add a sense
of peace and tranquility. Try an inexpensive, store-bought rock
garden with a fountain for the pleasant sound of gurgling water.
It could be your meditative respite.
Add elements that appeal to all five senseslots
of color and varietytry varying levels with shelves or stands.
Certain flowers attract birds or butterflies. A basic gardening
book will recommend them. Birds also like a bit of water and food,
of course. If you want to attract a lot of birds, create a diverse
environment: Hang up a couple of different bird feeders with more
than one kind of seed and get a birdbath. Birds also need shelter
for nesting in a tree, bush, or under garage eaves. Birds add wonderful
music to your garden!