3 Simple Steps to Creating a Garden for the Elderly or Disabled

Gardening can be very hard work. In fact, even getting around the garden can often be a challenge. Many of us are, or know someone who is, suffering from either physical or mental limitations in our everyday life. Perhaps it is just the natural ageing process that we all go through eventually. Making our gardens easier to manage, more accessible, and more enjoyable should be a priority when looking at projects that could be completed before the summer sets in.old

We will address here, steps that anyone can take to ensure their garden is less of a challenge for themselves or visitors.

 Paving

Simply getting around the garden is often a major issue that has to be tackled. There was an upsurge in the popularity of gravel gardens in the 1990’s and naughties and thank heavens it seems to be passing. Gravel is the enemy of anyone in a wheelchair or who is a little unsteady on their feet. Remove the gravel as a priority and put in place some suitable, level, paving. There are many options for materials available to use including:

  • Concrete
  • Stone
  • Brick / Block
  • Flagstones
  • Tarmac

When laying the paving around the garden, be sure to create a loop in the design so that a wheelchair user does not have to carry out a three point turn. Winding the path around the garden is also better for viewing it. Make sure the patch is wide enough, say four feet. Steps also need to be addressed. Build ramps into your paths and make the slopes long so that they are not too steep.

Raised Beds

Raising the flower beds in the garden allows people with limited mobility and dexterity to weed, dig, and plant. Creating the raised beds is simple; there are a variety of materials and methods that can be employed:

  • Railway Sleepers
  • Pressure Treated Timber
  • Vertical Flagstones
  • Brick
  • Block

 The raised beds can be as simple or complicated as you wish to make them. Tools and materials are available from LBS Builders and other reputable dealers. Fill with a mixture of good quality compost and topsoil and they are prepared for our next suggestion.

The Sensory Garden

Making use of planting to create sound, colour, and fragrance is good for everyone. It aids depression and helps severely mentally disabled people as it works on the senses.

Some suggested plants for your sensory garden are:

  • Sunflowers. They are big, bold and hard to miss with their yellow heads.
  • Bocks of marigolds to give large areas of colour.
  • Chameleon. This plant has amazing tri-coloured leaves and  gives off a citrus smell when the leaves are crushed.
  • Lavender. Brushing against the flower heads of a lavender plant releases a pleasant smell.
  • Bamboo. Bamboo is a grass that gives off a wonderful rustling sound in even the smallest breeze and is a favourite with gardeners. It can grow tall and is best planted densely.
  • Curry Plant. Would you consider a spicy odour in your garden?

Following the three main steps above, you can convert your own garden into a friendly paradise for yourself and others. Replacing the lawn with an artificial one is another top way to cut down on routine maintenance. We should all be thinking about the way we design gardens in this enlightened era.

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