The garden is a special place for gardeners and garden visitors. Not only does it contain the gardener's aesthetic preferences and the plants they like to grow, but it's also a haven. Especially for gardeners with limited mobility using wheelchairs, it is important to create an environment that includes wheelchair-accessible garden beds.
Whether you are someone who needs mobility or you know someone who relies on wheelchair accessibility for easy access, providing a garden for wheelchair users is a worthwhile effort. By providing an experience where everyone can grow plants, you are giving people the gift of gardening.
Whether you're looking to create a convenient garden area with a focus on vegetables, herbs or flowers, it's important to create or convert your entire garden for easy access. This way, anyone, including wheelchair users, can grow plants in a comfortable position.
What Makes Raised Garden Beds Accessible?
An accessible garden with raised garden beds ensures that wheelchair users (and anyone, really) can easily reach the planting area for gardening practice. This includes not only easy access, but also easy-to-understand bed design and orientation. The relationship of the bed to the surrounding area is also important. Channels can connect the bed to a patio or an area for storing tools. In accessible gardening, raised beds are seamlessly integrated into the irrigation system in the same way that everyone steps into it. Also pay attention to rest. Raised garden beds in direct sunlight should be joined together and into a shaded area. Additional seating is included for those who can get out of their wheelchair on a regular basis. This makes the garden a place to nurture plants and take care of yourself in one fell swoop!
In the parallel approach, raised garden beds require the wheelchair user to turn to one side while gardening. The point of accessibility is the correct height. Raised bed gardens should be at least 28 inches high and no more than 34 inches high. The width from the side of the bed to the center should be no more than 2 feet for easy access from either side.
The forward approach focuses on the wheelchair user's ability to roll under part of the bed, ensuring contact with the plants on the raised bed. In this mode, the gardening experience is easier as the gardener can maintain a comfortable position while caring for vegetables, flowers and herbs. The height of the recessed area should be at least 27 inches high and 30 inches wide. In the front approach, the width of the bed from the front-facing area should not exceed 25 inches.
Wheelchair accessible raised garden bed
When it comes to accessible gardening, there are plenty of options. Here, we'll discuss different styles of raised gardens that are easy to access for everyone but designed for those using wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, and walking sticks. Accessibility and maintenance requirements for each type are included so you can make the best decisions when building a raised bed garden.
bird loft bed
Birdie is Australia's leading manufacturer of original raised garden beds. For 13 years, they have led the industry with the longest lasting metal loft bed, the most configuration options, sizes and colors. These high-quality beds are a great option for creating your own loft bed focused on parallel or forward access. Parallel methods can use one bed or a bed between channels. Forward access is achieved by combining multiple beds into one to create a U-shaped, L-shaped or E-shaped bed.
olle has pioneered modular round steel garden beds in a variety of height and size options. Beds come in a variety of styles to fit any garden space, from square to round to rectangular. Modular "6-in-1" and "8-in-1" designs allow for different sizes depending on how you decide to arrange the panels. The beds are either aluminum reinforced steel or Kraton steel, offering gardeners a variety of aesthetic options. These beds require no maintenance as they are rust and corrosion resistant. And they don't contaminate the soil over time. For wheelchair accessible gardens, we recommend the following beds. Note that these combinations create shapes that make them more forward facing for people with reduced mobility:
Basic Wooden Loft Bed
E-shaped or L-shaped loft beds can be made of wood. It doesn't matter if wooden beams or 2x4s are better for your location, as long as they are properly sealed with a non-toxic garden sealant. Hardwood beds are naturally more durable and don't require as much resealing as softwood. Therefore, cedar or redwood are the most viable options. Fir and pine, the opposite of the spectrum, will rot in just a few years without proper sealing. However, they are cheaper. Good drainage and wider planks will also promote a longer lasting raised bed material.
With a soil depth of 2 to 3 feet for raised garden beds, gardeners don't have to water as much, and it's easier to get an irrigation system set up inside a raised bed. These beds do not need to be bent and users can stand while using them.
Brick, Stone and Concrete Raised Beds
While wood-framed beds tend to break down over time, using brick, concrete, or stone as raised gardening material can save a lot of time and maintenance. Because they're more modular, they're easier to use if you want to change the design for easier access. L-shaped, E-shaped or U-shaped beds are possible. If you're working with heavy duty materials, you probably don't need to make sure they won't break over time. However, the bricks may work best on their own when they are held together properly with cement or clay.
Plant at arm's length and your garden will stay longer. Combine a brick garden with a lovely stone path or concrete patio and you've got a pleasing aesthetic. Building these beds in a wheelchair can be daunting, but as long as the ground is level and the paths are smooth, moving bricks or stones may be easier than on grass. Another benefit of this type of raised bed is that weeds are not a problem.
Elevated flower pot
There are many different types of overhead planters on the market. The most typical of these are raised wooden basins that stand on pillars. You can create them yourself or buy and assemble them at home. Perfect for those who like to stand while gardening and those who use wheelchairs, raised planters are useful in established gardens with other types of raised beds. They also serve as the base format for an entire accessible raised garden. Here, most vegetables and plenty of herbs and flowers can be grown.
Some plants, such as deep-rooted vegetables, are not suitable for this form of gardening. These planters tend to evaporate moisture faster and require more water. But, for example, the ability to repurpose wine barrels and place them on two legs to raise the ground to hand level is awesome. These are great if you want to grow herbs, especially those that can handle dry soil periods.
lazy susan garden bed
This fun garden bed style is parallel but makes gardening easy by turning the entire bed to allow plants in. Therefore, crossing the ground is not necessary to cross the point leading to the garden. There is no need to bend to reach soil or fill the bed, as it is at the right height, making it easy for a variety of garden tasks. Like raised pots, this type of bed has limited soil depth and requires more watering than deep raised beds
vertical garden bed
While this can be as simple as a raised bed with a trellis, it can also involve gardeners repurposing old materials, such as converted pallets. Trays are great for plants with shallow roots, such as herbs, vegetables, and flowers. Although they are a parallel bed, their aesthetic appeal alone makes their gardening a pleasure.
Another interesting vertical option is a railed garden area. Railing gardens use features such as nearby walls, balconies or roof railings as façades. They stick to the width of a wall or railing, making it easy to access the plants in a sitting or standing position. Grow herbs and vegetables here and choose between plastic, metal or wood containers. If you own the space you're in, you can attach bricks to the top of a thick wall to create a pot where plants can grow.
Another cool vertical option for growing plants is a stacking planter. It sits on the ground or on a multi-level table, making plants easily accessible to any gardener. Since these stacking planters are modular, they can reach any height, making weeding, watering and pest management as easy as you need them to be. Just like raised pots, more watering is required, as freestanding options tend to dry out faster. But you can skip all the effort involved in building a bed here.
The built-in bed is fully forward facing and is the best option for gardeners using a wheelchair or walker. Users planting in these beds place the legs under the center of the bed, where there is a shallow planting area or table top. On the sides, the soil is much deeper, sitting on an elevated post or directly to the ground. With this type of bed, it is possible to grow plants that need deep soil as well as those that don't. This bed type is also available in several different materials: made of fiberglass, wood or any type of stone material.
Another type of built-in bed is a tabletop bed where you can place tools or transplant seedlings. Gardeners can stand or sit as needed, and the table is the same length and thickness as the bed, making it easier to water plants or use tools. Unlike the shallower types, this bed does not require as much watering. Connect multiple beds to create a garden that anyone can easily access.
Although they use a parallel format, tiered beds offer an interesting design without legs, making irrigation more of a focus. They have soil depth and room to grow many different types of plants. Made of any material, prefab or developed by the gardener, the individual layered design makes it easier to reach the area with tools to work with the soil. They also allow gardeners to work the soil with children, who can plant on lower tiers.
We've talked about growing in containers in this article, but containers are a great option for those who don't have room for a raised garden, or for those who aren't sure what a garden will look like in summer of choice. For example, if the light in one area is too bright, the container can easily be moved from one area to another. They can sit next to tools and earth bags on a table with legs high enough to accommodate the seated person, or they can simply be large enough to care for from the ground.
Half a wine barrel on the leg is a great container. The vertically stackable containers we mentioned earlier also work. The same goes for railing garden options. With containers, there is plenty of room to play in small or larger areas. Note that containers typically require daily watering and may need to be indoors during cold winters.
Q: How do you make disabled loft beds?
A: There are many ways to do this! Consider first two modes: the parallel format and the frontal format. Once you've decided which is best for you, you can compile the design.
Q: What is adaptive gardening?
A: This is a style of gardening that makes gardening easier for everyone, especially those who use mobile devices. It can be an adaptable tool or even an adaptable planting area.
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