Gardening with Disabilities
Gardening is an activity that can be enjoyed by almost everyone, regardless of their age or physical limitations. For those who find gardening physically difficult, careful planning and new approaches can work wonders towards making gardening an accessible and rewarding pastime. Some considerations might include:
- Safe, stable and well-drained walking surfaces that provide good traction.
- Wide pathways and work areas.
- The use of raised beds and work trays to reduce bending and stooping.
- Tools that provide a mechanical advantage.
- The use of containers and flower boxes.
- Installing seating so the gardener can rest or work while sitting down.
The links below have ideas and suggestions for gardeners with disabilities or limitations.
Gardening For Life. WSU Extension Publication MISC0545. A guide to garden adaptations for gardeners of all ages and abilities. This guide also has a unique section on creating a “sensory garden”, where plants are selected for their color contrast, fragrance, feel, taste, and sound.
Making Gardening Easier. Oregon State University Extension. A series of articles that help to make gardening available for all:
- Adaptive Gardening Techniques for the Visually Impaired. EM 8498.
- Gardening Hints for People with Arthritis. EM 8499.
- Gardening Adaptations for People with Gripping and Lifting Problems. EM 8500.
- Gardening Strategies for People with Heart and Lung Problems. EM 8501.
- Gardening Ideas for Children with Special Needs. EM 8502.
- Master Gardeners Promote Therapy Through Horticulture. EM 8503.
- Adapting Garden Tools to Overcome Physical Challenges. EM 8504.
- Gardening with Limited Range of Motion. EM 8505.
Wheelchair Gardening. Suggestions for the gardener who uses a wheelchair.
Garden Friendly. Maryland Cooperative Extension. How to help make a garden friendly to those who are physically challenged.