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Garden access

Depending on your current abilities you might be looking at improving the access to your garden or other gardens you visit. Here are a few issues that you might want to consider depending on your situation.

  1. Mobility issues
  2. Environmental issues
  3. Planning access to your garden in a wheelchair
  4. Information on possible funding
  5. Further information on gardening


1. Mobility issues

If you are using a walking stick or crutch, consider looking at a walking stick or crutch with a shock-absorbing or pivoting ferrule that may help when walking on a range of surfaces such as grass, gravel or even sand.

Walking sticks with non-standard features

Products: Walking sticks with non-standard features

These walking sticks have a range of non-standard features, such as shock absorbing ferrules, wider bases suitable for different types of walking surfaces such as soil and sand, and integral laser beam systems

Non-standard ferrules

Products: Non-standard ferrules

In this section are non-standard ferrules including pivoting and shock-absorbing ferrules

Further information

Read our advice on ferrules or the Safe use of walking equipment.


2. Environment issues

Paths

Are they even or cracked? This could lead to tripping and falls and water may 'pool' leading to risks of slipping and encouraging weeds and moss to grow

Paints, coatings, sealants and primers

Products: Paints, coatings, sealants and primers

This section lists products including tiles, tapes and liquids which can be bonded, or sprayed onto indoor or outdoor flooring surfaces to provide increased slip-resistance in wet or dry areas

Steps may need to be looked at to ensure they are safe. Check if they are worn down or too high. If the steps are too high, you might need to replace them with shallower steps, ensuring there is sufficient tread area for the feet or a larger landing area for use with a walking frame. Hand rails may be needed and if you have low sight you might want to provide contrast (such as a special tape or paint) on the edge of the steps.

Path tracks can provide a temporary or permanent option for a pedestrian or wheelchair user to access paths over gravel, snow and sand. If there is an incline you may need to include a ramp for wheelchair use.

Path tracks and netting for gardens

Products: Path tracks and netting for gardens

This section includes mobility mats and path tracks which cover and usually provide drainage on grass, gravel, and other uneven surfaces for use with wheelchairs or for pedestrian use


3. Planning access to your garden in a wheelchair.

You may decide to improve access to outdoor clothes drying facilities, routes between home and car, storage and refuse. Considerations may include the views of the garden from inside your home, orientation to the sun and shelter in different types of weather. (Thorpe, S., 2006).

A private back or side garden could have a lockable gate, Recommendations state this should have a height of 900-1000mm height, with a handle and lock that you can reach and operate. The gate should have a minimum 850mm wide clear opening. (Thorpe, S., 2006).

Products that may help when taking part in gardening activities include:

  • raised beds or raised containers
  • handles and arm supports for attachments to gardening equipment.
  • kneeling stools and pads
Raised beds, containers and hanging baskets

Products: Raised beds, containers and hanging baskets

This section includes a range of raised beds, standing containers and hanging baskets with features which may enhance their ease of use, such as integral watering systems

Handgrips and attachments

Products: Handgrips and attachments

These handles and arm supports can be attached to a range of objects, and may provide enhanced grip and an ability to hold things with greater firmness and a more comfortable hand position

Kneeling stools and pads

Products: Kneeling stools and pads

In this section we have garden kneeling stools which can also be used as seats


4. Information on possible funding

The Gardening for disabled trust may provide grants for people who need to re-organise gardens with a wide-range of disabilities including visual, physical and mental.

In some situations you may be able to receive assistance with funding adaptations which includes the Disabled Facility grant (DFG). The DFG includes a clause 'have easier access to your garden or make access to your garden safe for you - your garden can include a yard, outhouse or other facility within the boundary of land attached to your dwelling'. (Disability Rights UK, 2014).

Your local authority may interpret this in a range of ways so contact them directly.


5. Further information on gardening

The Gardening for disabled trust

The Gardening for disabled trust may provide grants for people who need to re-organise their garden due to a wide-range of disabilities.

Thrive

Thrive is a national charity, that uses gardening to change the lives of disabled people.

Its aim is to research, educate and promote the use and advantages of gardening for people with disabilities and to encourage well-being.

Thrive's Carry on gardening website looks at jobs that you might want to do in the garden and gives practical information to make the tasks easier under different sections, for example, gardening when you use one hand or gardening for blind and partially sighted people. They have an information line.

Advice last checked: 28 October 2014 Next check due: 28 October 2017

All advice is either supported by references (cited in the text) or is based upon peer reviewed professional opinion. Our advice is impartial and not influenced by sponsors or product suppliers listed on the site.
Conflict of interest statement