If you're an avid gardener, developing a condition that confines you to a wheelchair doesn't have to mean that you can't still enjoy your garden. With the right preparation and accommodations, you can still have a thriving garden. Here are some tips to help you accommodate your mobility aid without sacrificing your favorite hobby.
Create An Accessible Environment
The first step to ensuring your long-term access to your garden is working with someone to redesign it with your mobility needs in mind. It may mean moving some of your planting beds and even doing some landscaping work to add paved walkways and patio structures.
Measure the width of your wheelchair at its widest point and then measure the length. Make sure that all of the open spaces you create will accommodate the wheelchair without leaving you feeling cramped. You'll also want to think about the turning radius of the chair. The best option is to make at least five feet of open space for turns. After all, navigating around the garden is essential to caring for all of your plants.
Whenever possible, move your garden onto your deck. This is often the easiest option, because you likely already have a ramp from your doorway to the deck, making accessibility easy. If you don't have a deck or if your patio is too small, consider expanding it so that you can have everything accessible directly outside your door.
Sometimes, this just isn't feasible. In those cases, talk with a landscaper to create a series of pathways from asphalt or concrete so that it is smooth enough to roll easily on. Think about how your wheelchair handles on different surfaces to decide which will be the easiest to maneuver on in your garden.
Tailor The Planting Beds To Your Abilities
Once you've created an accessible area for your garden, it's time to start focusing on the beds themselves. There are so many different planting options, and many of them make it easy to care for your plants from a seated position.
Vertical wall gardens are a great way to plant things within your reach. Measure the height of your reach from the seat of the wheelchair, and place your vertical structures low enough that you don't need to stretch. Stretching too far forward can make the wheelchair tip forward, which can be dangerous and may cause injury.
Tabletop Or Raised Bed Gardens
In addition to vertical planting, you can also create tabletop gardens or raised beds. Raised beds are a versatile option, because you can build the base structure so that the plants are at a perfect height for you. It's also important to think narrow when you create your beds. The narrower your planting spaces are, the easier it will be for you to reach everything on each side.
Another helpful feature of raised beds and tabletop gardens is the ability to adjust the table height so that your wheelchair will fit underneath it. Measure the height of the arms of the wheelchair and make the clearance high enough that you can fit them underneath. That way, you can roll directly up to the table and improve your reach to effectively care for your plants.
Create An Inventory Of Accessible Tools
Tools specifically designed to improve your reach and movement are helpful for caring for garden plants. Things such as watering wands will help you reach all of your plants easily from your chair. Choose lightweight soils to reduce the amount of strain when you're digging and planting, too. By keeping loam soil and other lightweight soils accessible, you can easily add new plants or seeds.
As you can see, your wheelchair doesn't have to mean the end of your gardening hobby. With the tips presented here, you can make your garden work around your mobility aid instead of the other way around. For more information about maintaining your mobility, visit a website like http://www.twincitystairlifts.com.