Gardening is a hobby that many people enjoy. It has so many benefits that can help the body, soul, mind, and even the earth. And in gardening works, it may require us to do many bending and kneeling works to take care of the plants and soil.
However, for some people such as elders and those with disabilities, such movements are difficult to do because they have some kinds of limitation in their movements. Does it mean that they cannot do gardening works? The answer is no, because they can now do it with accessible gardening.
Accessible garden utilizes a modification in the garden to make it can be accessed by any kind of people without suffocating efforts. Not only for the gardening works, but accessible garden will also accommodate people who are hard to walk by and enjoy the garden.
In this article, we will explain a bit about the accessible garden. So, you can encourage your loved ones who are with disabilities to keep on getting the benefits of gardening.
Raising The Garden
The raised garden is an idea to make the plantation site higher, so that people who are hard to cope with bending down low and kneeling, like people with wheel chairs, can access it easily. Not only for people with disabilities, but other kinds of people can also access it, making it a garden with universal accessibility.
The idea is by raising the soil bed about one meter in height or any height that is comfortable for people with disabilities to work with and enjoy. In consideration, it should not be too high so that they cannot reach the soil but also not too low so they don’t need to bend down for it, and it should last for a long time.
Height is one of many considerations to make raised garden, and another consideration is the width. It should not be too wide so people in wheelchairs can reach the center of it without huge effort. Another meter in width is a good option so that people with disabilities can easily reach the center of the bed.
The length is optional as long as the garden is easily accessible. You can make a bed up to one kilometer long or just a box-shaped bed with only one meter of each side. One simple example is planting in a large pot that can contain as many plants as possible. Pot is also portable.
Choosing The Soil
Raising the garden is a good option, but after that, you need to consider another factor to make gardening easier to people with disabilities. First of all, it would be annoying if the plants aren’t growing as good as planted in the soil, so let’s concentrate first at making the soil as good as it is.
For filling the raised bed, you might use the soil you dig from the earth and just pile it up in the container. This might mess up the layers composition of the soil and affects the plants. So, after building the raised garden, you need to choose the soil that goes in it.
Good soil for gardening is usually the top layer, in order to get that, do not dig too deep and use the deeper soil to fill your raised garden bed. Collecting the top soil from large area of your lawn is better than digging in one particular spot and get the deeper, less fertile, soil.
Do not hesitate to pour some compost in the raised bed container because compost is a fertile foundation for your garden. However, because compost is relatively looser than normal soil, make sure to add some soil to for a grip of your plants’ roots.
Making The Right Track
Okay, if the beds are ready, next thing you need to consider is the path between and around the raised beds. It will determine the accessibility of the garden for the visitors, and the people working on it. Too wide is ineffective and too narrow is a problem.
So, we need to arrange the beds as effective as possible for wheelchairs to move around. In addition, you also should consider what type of paths it is going to be. Consider how the wheelchair is going to maneuver on the path.
Leaving it as grass path is the simplest choice, but lawnmower needs space to move between the raised beds. Pea gravel is another option since it can keep weeds down and once it gets dense, wheelchairs will be able to move on it in no trouble.
Brick or stoned patio is another option since it will instantly prevent the weeds to grow and wheelchairs can easily move on it. However, before building one brick or stoned patio path, please reconsider about the price and labor needed to build it.
Arranging The Plants
The arrangement of the plants is also important to make the garden well grown and accessible. First you need to choose the right plant to put in the garden. Annuals are good choice since they are easy to take care of and will provide beauty to the garden.
Some examples are petunias, marigolds, snap dragons, and annual salvia. They will bring out the beauty in your raised garden. After that, choose vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and any others that the tree will not grow too tall to reach.
Arranging the plants is also important in making the garden. In planting, make sure that the tallest plants are put in the middle or the back of the bed. So those who are with disabilities can recognize how tall is too tall and can work on the trimming.
And one thing to remember, providing the right tools for people with disabilities to work on their gardens is important. Huge tools with heavy and short handles can be difficult to use for them, so provide lighter and longer tools so they can do any gardening works easily.
All those works may require little more efforts than usual gardens, but making an accessible garden is worth the work. The ones with disabilities can get the benefits of gardening, and enjoy their works when the garden blooms.