gardening for disabledGardens and gardening help reducing isolation and depression. Gardeners must stretch before and after gardening. Gardening is great exercise, but overdoing in a burst of enthusiasm after inactivity can contribute to joint or back injuries. Sit down when weeding. Bending over causes back strain and poor balance. Sit on the ground or use a low stool or beach chair. Use a wagon to collect weeds or move tools or soil. Use kneepads and wear garden gloves.

Always use lightweight, bright-colored, sharp, long-handled tools for less bending. Keep garden paths clear of tools or other tripping hazards. Pathways should be widened up for wheelchairs or walkers. A smooth path, paved with bark mulch or gravel, is safer than stepping stones.

Gardeners should prefer making navigations transitions between levels, ramps instead of the steps. The ramps should have no more than 1-inch rise in 12 inches of length. Steps must have railings, nonskid surfaces and treads with sufficient width.

Waist-high raised beds for easy arm’s-reach planting and weeding always facilitates people of older age as well as people on wheelchairs or walkers.

Sustainable garden design must involve advance planning as you age. Group your plants according to their water needs, and set up your irrigation system to water the plants and not the weeds. Use an automated watering system or lay down soaker hoses. Attach on-off valves to each hose, and have several hoses coiled around the garden so you don’t have to move them.

Prevent weeds and conserve water by mixing compost in the top soil, and mulch planting beds.

Start growing natives in your landscape. Minimize turf areas. Lawns are a ton of maintenance work and expense. Better opt for no-mow meadow areas or ground covers.

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