Archive for the ‘Therapeutic Gardening’ Category

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Accessible Gardening…

June 20, 2012

wwwgardendesignercouk-20.jpgGardening, not only for people with disabilities but also in general can have wonderful results both in improving motor skills and in reducing stress.

Just a relatively short amount of time in the garden pottering about, watering and generally tending to plants produces measurable feelings of calm in both body and in mind.

It may not be too surprising that gardening as a therapy was introduced following both World Wars. Hospitals made increased use of gardening as therapy in the treatment and re-education of soldiers disabled in the war.

As a therapy, gardening is one of the few hobbies where interaction with a living medium is used. With gardening, people with disabilities get a hands-on connection with the natural environment and life cycle. With gardening there is always something to look forward to, something to plan, something to learn from, and where they may be an emotional disability, a hobby such as gardening can prove invaluable.

Let’s have a look at some things can make a garden more accessible to everyone.

Raised Beds For Easy Wheelchair Access: There are so many designs available for such raised beds, however the best designs are those where the raised beds are supported on legs or columns at regular intervals. With these types of raised beds, knees and front wheels can actually get under the bed and so provide generally better wheelchair access.

Hanging Baskets: The ideal solution would be such baskets with a pulley system whereby the baskets can be lowered easily for watering – or even perhaps using mechanically-timed watering system.

Visual Aided Planting: Planting against contrasting colours, one example being planting tomatoes against a white fence background which makes it easier to see when the fruits are ripe.

Paving Access: Naturally careful consideration should be given to suchwwwgardendesignercouk-27.jpg walkways, with perhaps handrails needing to be added. Ensure that such walkways provide grip and ease of use in all weathers.

Adapted Tools: These are now relatively easy to obtain. Such adaptations can also easily done to existing tools; longer / shorter handles, brightly coloured handles / blades, etc.

Creating Rest Areas Within The Garden: Throughout my website I like to reinforce the idea that a garden should be enjoyed and there are times when we should just “be” in the garden. A restful place in any garden is a welcome addition.

Selecting Plants For Fragrance Colour And Textures: The garden is a veritable world of sensations for anyone; smells, sights, sounds and so on. Also most gardeners enjoy getting hands dirty and feeling their garden, particularly when planting and pruning. Make your garden a feast for all the senses.

Having Edge Guides On Paths: Not only for wheelchairs, this is a particularly good idea to prevent feet getting onto slippery soil. Bear in mind that such guides must be safe themselves to prevent tripping.