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Gardens of many shapes and sizes add beauty to any yard, porch or patio.  Getting your garden in shape can also be therapeutic, both physically and emotionally.  A little design creativity can make gardening easier and more enjoyable for individuals of all abilities.

gardening11. Elevated Beds

Elevated beds are planting structures raised off the ground, typically at waist level or taller.  They can be customized, allowing gardeners to stand at a comfortable level or easily tend plants from a seated position or while using a wheelchair.

2. Raised Beds

With raised beds, soil is contained within a frame, just above ground.  This can minimize the need for bending, strenuous digging and weeding, tasks which can be difficult for individuals with disabling conditions.  Raised beds also add character to even the flattest yard.

gardening23. Terracing and Retaining Walls
If gardening on a slope is problematic due to balance or mobility issues, a terraced garden can tame hilly landscapes. The steps can be spaced appropriately to provide the required width and height, making gardening easier and safer.

4. Container Gardens
Container growing is especially helpful for people with disabilities or anyone who has limited garden space, such as balconies or patios.  Containers on wheels allow plants to be moved to easily accessible locations.  Graduated shelving places containers at comfortable heights for viewing and tending.  Possibilities for more permanent containers with extra character include old sinks, wheelbarrows, tubs, and barrels.

gardening35. Vertical Gardens

Using trellises and fencing allows vines and climbing plants to grow vertically.  Vertical plantings are often more convenient for individuals with limited reach or mobility, and they can also enhance a once dull space.

6. Hanging Gardens
Hanging pots and baskets are ideal for almost any location.  They can easily be accessed, moved as often as needed, and hung at an optimum height for the individual gardener.  Decorative chains can spruce up a basket, and simple pulley systems can raise and lower pots for easy watering.

7. Assistive Garden Tools
Regardless of the garden design, accessible tools can make this popular hobby more enjoyable for individuals of all abilities.  Trowels with extra-long handles, trimmers with ergonomic grips, shovels with arm supports, and benches for sitting or kneeling are just a few of the gardening aids introduced in recent years.

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CARF GoldSealAssistive Technology Solutions
A Division of the Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center
3701 Bellemeade Avenue
Evansville, IN 47714-0137
Phone (812) 492-0659 Fax (812) 437-2611