Gardening can be a great source of enjoyment and offer a feeling of wellbeing as your garden grows and prospers. Gardening is especially beneficial for the aged, people with disabilities and children. Whatever your capabilities with a little planning you can enjoy your garden in safety.
Did you know that spending time in your garden can improve your physical and mental health? Here are some ideas for safe activities in the garden:
* Sit and rest in the sun or shade
* Take a stroll
* Grow herbs, fruit and vegetables
* Grow flowers and shrubs
* Create an outdoor area that offers privacy from traffic and passers-by
* Bird watching
* Entertain friends and family
* Enjoy your morning or afternoon tea
* Read the newspaper or a book
Benefits of Spending Time in your Garden
Exercise: Whether you are just taking a stroll, planting, weeding or picking fruit. Gardening can have a positive impact on your health.
> Improve mobility, coordination, strength and flexibility
> Enhance motor skills, hand and eye coordination
> Positive influence on your mental health
> Reduce your risk to diseases such as Osteoporosis.
Relaxation: Sitting or walking through a garden is a guaranteed mood lifter. Enjoy the sunshine in your own private little park. Spending a little time in the outdoors each day can reduce stress levels.
Fresh Food: There is a great sense of achievement when you provide food for you and your family. Growing herbs, vegetables or fruit can be a rewarding, cost effective and enjoyable past time. There are lots of options for growing your own food; pots, garden beds, trellis and walls. Choose what suits you and your garden best.
Enjoyment: Spending time in the outdoors will lift your mood and help with your physical and mental health. The simple pleasure of sitting in your garden is reason enough to consider adapting your garden to suit you.
Tips for Safe Gardening
To reduce the risk of strain or injury it is important to think about your health and mobility in the garden. By following the simple advice given you can enjoy time in the garden safely.
Skin – Thin or fragile skin is easily scraped, bruised or broken
Solution: Wear gloves at all times and protective clothing when needed. Treat scrapes and insect bites straight away. Always wear a hat and sunscreen when working in the garden.
Vision – People with low visibility or persons with a visual impairment
Solution: Keep pathways clear, put equipment away when not in use. Consider plants with different textures. Use texture and bright colours on pathways, stairs, landings and entrances.
Mental Abilities – Thinking and memory problems affected by dementia and similar conditions
Solution: Keep gates closed, install automatic closing hinge to prevent gate being left open.
Body Temperature – Dehydration can be a danger for seniors.
Solution: Stay hydrated by drinking lots of fluids. Gardening in the morning or late afternoon, avoid the heat in the middle of the day.
Skeletal – Osteoporosis and arthritis can present a challenge by restricting movement and flexibility.
Solution: Ensure the ground is even and not slippery, design the garden for easy access to plants reducing the need to bend or stretch.
Look at adding gripping aids to tools for stronger and safer grip. Arm support cuffs are available at some hardware stores and are helpful for those with weak hands and wrist.
When buying new tools for gardening, try them in your hand, test for height, weight and movability. Different brands and styles may be better for different individuals.
For a cheaper alternative you can use foam or tubing to extend the grip on your existing tools or make the grip softer and a more suitable size.
How to Make Gardening Easier
- Plant gardens vertically to assist with maintenance and harvesting, for example walls and Trellis.
- Raising beds to a height that is reachable from a chair or wheelchair can make it easier for harvesting, weeding and planting. Ensure that you consider the width as well to aid access to all areas.
- Hang Pots at the appropriate height to suit you or place them in easy to reach locations. Hanging pots are ideal for herbs and small flowering plants that not only look nice but can add fragrance to your garden.
- Ground pots are ideal for planting herbs, small fruit, palms and other plants. They also reduce the need of bending over or stooping to attend to your garden.
- Place small pots on items at an appropriate height such as benches or windowsills. This will help with harvesting and maintenance.
Movable garden beds
- Movable garden beds can be made from anything with wheels such as an old wheelbarrow. Now you have a garden that can be moved anywhere for maintenance.
Shade, Chairs and Benches
- Always choose a shady area to garden. Provide yourself with a stable chair and work area at an accessible height to assist in maintenance and harvest. If you don’t have a shady area think about purchasing an umbrella for your garden. Benches can be attractive and provide a place to sit and can double up as a work bench for working on smaller plants.
- Make sure there is a tap nearby or consider putting in a drip system to make watering easier. Install timers for watering where possible. Arrange plants together that have similar water requirements to make watering easier.
- Terracing your garden is expensive to set up but has long term advantages. By lessening the severity of a steep incline it allows easy access for maintenance. Terraces reduce storm water run which can be harmful to the environment.
With a little planning and foresight you can enjoy the benefits of your own garden all year round. Talk to your local nursery about plants that would suit you and your garden. The Lawn and Garden Maintenance team at East Coast Accessibility Experts can help plan and design your garden for safety and easy access. Contact us today.