Making Gardening Accessible

I don’t know about you, but few things make me happier than having my hands in the dirt and watching plants grow. I’m not an expert gardener, but it’s a hobby I’ve always enjoyed. Sadly, when I became sick, it was also one of the first hobbies I had to let go. Kneeling in the dirt, gripping garden tools, and hauling watering cans to the garden beds just wasn’t feasible anymore. It took me some time to find solutions, but I’m happy to say I’m back in the garden again. If gardening is something you enjoy, there are many creative ways to make it workable. Here are just a few to get you started.

Image shows a wooden bench with two attached planter boxes, and links to Wayfair website.
Image shows edge of a swimming pool and smooth beige-colored patio stones. A wooden diagonal trellis is overgrown with climbing green plant. In front of trellis sits a medium-brown wooden bench with horizontal slats across straight back. On either side of bench, at a level height with bench seat, sit two small square planted boxes filled with plants and flowers.

I love just about everything about this garden bench. The cedar is beautiful. Wouldn’t this be a wonderful place to rest in the backyard, or along a path? The two planter boxes are small enough to be manageable, and just the right size for a pretty planting of flowers or a small container vegetable garden. All of the planting, weeding, harvesting, and admiring can be done comfortably from the bench seat. And when you’re not gardening, it still makes for a beautiful place to rest and enjoy the outdoors!

Image shows a series of raised wooden planter boxes with inset fronts to allow wheelchair access, and links to Universal Design Style website.
Image shows a patio paved with herringbone pattern paver bricks, with brick building and darkened windows in background. Dappled sunlight is seen through trees. A series of three light brown wooden raised planter boxes is seen at an angle along the left side of the frame. Horizontal wooden planks make up the outer sides and center sections of the planters, which are each divided into smaller sections. The fronts of these sections are clad in vertical wood paneling and are set at an angle so that the base is inset from the top. Inside, we see an assortment of small green plants growing. In the foreground we see a small wooden barrel with lettuce or chard sprouting.

These raised garden beds are stunning. The separate angled spaces are perfectly constructed to make them wheelchair accessible. There is plenty of room to roll up to the edge and garden to your heart’s content! The raised bed design means they can be placed on a patio or large balcony, or set in the grass in a backyard. Even if wheelchair accessibility isn’t a necessity for you, a raised bed can be far more comfortable than kneeling in the dirt. I constructed raised beds in my backyard so that I can simply lean over and do my gardening, and it has been instrumental in getting me back into the garden. Raised beds typically require less weeding (a plus!), although they may need a little more watering. These beds are the perfect side for flowers or vegetables.

Image shows five medium-height raised cedar garden beds, and links to Universal Design Style website.
Image shows a series of five cedar plank raised garden beds sitting parallel to one another at the edge of a grass lawn, with gray paved sidewalk between each. Boxes are long narrow rectangular shapes, and we see them from their narrowest end at an angle from the foreground. Each box sits at a height of four planks. We see assorted garden plants growing in each, with a chain link fence and greenery in the background.

A sturdy raised bed such as these is another great option for accessible gardening. The space between these narrow beds allows for easy access to all sides. The height is perfect for sitting on the edge and leaning into the garden–no kneeling necessary! You could even add a narrow board along the edge of the beds to create a ledge for sitting. As with all raised beds, these require less weeding. A soaker hose woven through the bed could allow for easy watering without the need to do any extra work. These are a great option for vegetables, especially, but they could be beautiful brimming with flowers too.

Image shows raised self-watering cedar planter, and links to Gardener's website.
Image shows a long, narrow rectangular cedar planter box raised on four straight black metal legs. The planter sits on a paved gray patio at the edge of a grass lawn, and we see a low single-story house in the background with an assortment of tall tropical plants surrounding. A Caucasian woman with long straight brown hair stands behind the planter box. She wears a sleeveless gray tank top and jeans, and leans over the planter box apparently pruning and assortment of garden plants. She is smiling in the photo and looking down at the plants.

For serious low-maintenance gardening, it doesn’t get much easier than this raised planter! The height is ideal for easy access, and this planter is self-watering! The cedar is long-lasting and deters pests, too. This would be beautiful along a patio, or even out in the yard. Perfect for most vegetables or for a beautiful array of flowers.

Image shows a modified garden trowel with arm grip and easy-to-hold handle, and links to Gardening Today website.
Image shows the forearm of a Caucasian woman. The hand grasps a modified silver garden trowel, with yellow and green attachment that wraps around forearm and has a vertical handle to grip. Trowel is just beginning to dig into rich brown soil, and is surrounded by an assortment of flowering plants.

Sometimes gripping the tools needed for gardening can be a challenge, either because of pain or weakness or any other limitation. This device is absolutely ingenious! It allows the bulk of the force to be provided by the forearm, without the need to grip or lift weight with the hand. The arm bar can be attached to a variety of gardening tools for any job in the garden. This would be an amazing asset in the garden for just about any task.

Image shows a blue metal weeding tool with long handle extension, and links to  Home Depot website.
Image shows a bright blue tall, thin garden tool set against white background. At the top, we see a black adjustable knob, and a handle with black foam padding and blue metal lever. A long thin pole extends to the base. At the base of the tool, we see a small black circle and three long metal spikes, with a bright blue lever foot hold extending perpendicularly from the long pole.

While this tool does require some gripping, it eliminates the need to bend while weeding. Simply step on the foot attachment to guide the claw toward weed roots, squeeze the trigger, and pull up the weed! Much easier than bending and pulling or digging weeds by hand.

Image shows a small garden wagon with seat, and link to Lee Valley.
Image shows a small wagon low to the ground with thick black tires. A red metal tractor seat sits atop a red metal frame. A small red metal basket sits behind the seat and holds an assortment of garden hand tools. The wagon sits at an angle across a sidewalk of small paver stones, with a garden of mixed plants and flowers in the background.

This little cart is a fantastic asset to make gardening more accessible! The large wheels would be easy to roll over all types of terrain, and the adjustable seat height makes it easier to get to all kinds of garden beds. Plus, all of your tools can be carried in the basket so that they are easily accessible.

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