Enjoy gardening? There are many holistic health advantages to spending time working with nature outside. Make the most of your yard and garden with mobility solutions and strategies that can improve safety and preserve autonomy. If accessibility is preventing you from enjoying your greenspaces, consider these tips.
National Gardening Month in April celebrates gardening at home, at work, and in school. There are numerous health benefits to gardening from a sense of achievement to fresh produce on the table and it is the ideal hobby and leisure activity for anyone with limited mobility. Accessibility issues are easily solved with mobility aids, that aim for access, safety, and comfort as well as other sound strategies recommended by industry experts.
Tips for safe gardening with limited mobility are:
Prepare the Space
The best way to start preparing safer greenspaces is by leveling, mowing, and maintaining the surfaces. Remember, these can all present fall risks and challenges to anyone concerned about mobility. Construct a walkway that offers a smooth, level path to the plants or garden; this also makes it accessible for mobility aids like walkers or wheelchairs.
Paving the space can be costly, but cement pavers are an inexpensive option. Go with larger pavers or bricks to create as smooth a surface as possible.
Raise the Beds
Bending over to tend plants and gardens can be back-breaking work, but there is an easier way. Try raising the level of the garden so that it is waist-high, or at a level that is comfortable for those in chairs or on scooters.
You can achieve this by using raised beds or containers for planting. You could also install benches that are at a comfortable height for reaching the beds, and that gardeners can use for stability, support, and sitting when working outside.
Consider Container Gardening
Speaking of container gardening, this is a prudent approach for anyone who may be stuck inside or that has limited accessible outdoor space. If someone is ill or recently injured, they may simply not be up to going outside to work on plants. Small kitchen herb gardens, hanging potted plants, and blooming window boxes are some other ways to keep them in touch with nature from the comfort of the inside.
Take a Trolley
Make gardening easier on everyone and invest in a gardening trolley. Never heard of one? A gardening trolley is a fantastic, wheeled cart and tool that not only transports everything you do and might need when working in the garden, but also provides a means of support and source of stability for those that may have some mobility challenges.
Gardening trolleys have clever little seats that hover above the wheels, and that are the perfect height for reaching the ground or working on plants. They have sturdy, heavy-duty wheels to handle any outdoor terrain. These trolleys are great. super useful. and inexpensive to buy. Check them out online!
Try Ergonomic Tools
While you are at it, take a closer look at some of the ergonomic gardening tools that are widely available. These provide bulkier handles that prevent pain and slippage. Some may be made of lighter materials to make them easier to handle. Skip the bulky and often-dangerous power tools and go with adaptive manual ones that are comfortable to grip and convenient to use.
Light Things Up
Make sure that all areas to and from the greenspaces are well lit and illuminated. Many debilitating falls at home occur due to poor or faulty lighting. Light things up with modern LED bulbs and outdoor light fixtures. This can go a long way toward preventing accidents as well as making people more comfortable working outside.
Hire Some Help
It is always an option to hire help for tasks that are too arduous, difficult, or daunting. This can also prevent time spent in the garden from becoming too much work to be enjoyable. Contract a local landscaping company to maintain and mow throughout the season.
Implement Mobility Aids
Stay safe and reduce the risk of a nasty fall with some mobility aids that are designed for the rigors of being outdoors and in the elements.
Some mobility aids that work in the garden include:
- Walking sticks and canes are easy to carry and offer a reliable source of stability when walking around outside on uneven or grassy terrain.
- Portable ramps are helpful for accessing areas with steps, stairs, or steep inclines that may be difficult to traverse otherwise.
- Outdoor lifts, such as pool, porch, or vehicle, can make outdoor activities possible for those with physical limitations. Talk to your provider to find out more.
Talk to your provider about other aids and equipment that can bring you autonomy when working in the garden or engaging in whatever activities you enjoy. Some may be covered fully or in part by insurance.
Stay safer when out gardening with mobility aids and devices that are intended to increase accessibility, while offering safety and comfort, too. Do you enjoy spending time outdoors? The team at Pacific Mobility understands and wants to help you find mobility solutions that will improve the overall quality of your life. Call or visit today.
President, Husband, Father, Grandfather Graduate of UC Davis- Bio Sci Major- Go Aggies! Jeff has extensive experience in all of Pacific Mobility’s products and services, and specializes in accessibility products as well as stairlifts, ceiling lifts and custom wheel chairs. His hobbies include spending time with family, gardening, mountain biking, exercising and off road motorcycle riding.
24 years as Owner/President of Pacific Mobility Center – selling, installing, and servicing stairlifts, porch lifts, ceiling lifts, pool lifts, handicap ramping, specialty wheelchairs, scooters, power wheel chairs, and other power mobility devices
Certified Environmental Access Consultant since 2008
Licensed General Contractor since 1998
Certified Aging in Place Specialist since 2016
Board Member for Home Access Professionals
Member of Association of Members of the Accessibility Equipment Industry (AEMA)