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Gardening With Limited Mobility

Living an active life is important for many people over fifty.

Gone are the days of just putting your feet and sitting around. Now, millions of people across the UK choose to get involved in many physical activities well into later life.

Gardening is one of the most popular pastimes and some studies have shown that it might even protect the mind again developing Alzheimer's disease.

While able bodied people may take the choice of getting out and getting their fingers dirty in the garden for granted, for some people, it's more difficult.

Arthritis, visual impairment and back problems are the most common conditions which can take the pleasure out of gardening.

But, delve a little deeper and you will see there are many ways to keep gardening, even if the body isn't as co-operative as it once was.

Are there any adapted gardening tools available to help me?

There are all sorts of tools available on the market to help disabled gardeners achieve their full potential. Click here to see our range.

Choosing the right tool can make a huge difference to the amount of pleasure you can get from your garden.

Tips on how to adapt your garden

Raised Beds
You can install raised beds or containers to minimise the need to bend down. Ensure that they are moveable, so they can be easily relocated.

You can use old tyres, sinks or wheelbarrows to bring the earth that all-important two feet nearer the sky.

Terracing and Retaining Walls
A terraced garden is a series of small retaining walls or raised ground beds forming steps.

The lower levels of these steps can be easily adapted to provide access for the disabled gardener, by building up brickwork to the height required to tend plants.

Elevated Beds
These shallow beds are raised off the ground on legs.

They are especially useful for chair-bound people who can get their wheelchairs underneath the bench and work comfortably from the chair.

However, this bed can also be constructed for those who prefer to stand.

General Advice
Make gardening areas accessible. If ramps are required, the slope should be no more than 8% and it should be edged, to prevent the wheelchair from rolling off the side.

All surfaces should be non-slip and have a 2% slope for water drainage, made of porous material.

If possible, install handrails or handgrips and use foam pads if you are able to kneel.

Do not try to create your adapted garden around a traditional lawn, because the surface will probably be too uneven for a person in a wheelchair or someone with impaired walking to negotiate.

If a grassy area is desired, open-work paving stones that incorporate holes for the grass to be seeded through are widely available.

When choosing which plant to grow, consider factors like their height, life span and the amount of attention they require.