Being able to garden is not something that only able-bodied folks should have the privilege of being active in, in fact, I believe that everybody, regardless of mobility should have access to the joys that gardening can bring.
Let’s look at some of the dimensions that make for comfortable gardening for many different situations.
Standing: While a gardener is able to stand, a comfortable height for them would be what is called, “Counter-top” height, which is 36 inches. 36 inches makes a comfortable level at which to work and does not cause one to bend much at the back or to work with their elbows elevated. This height is commonly found in homes and shops where standing is necessary. Many home bathrooms are even now raising the height of bathroom vanities to this height also, up from the traditional height of 31 inches.
Sitting: If a gardener would prefer to sit while gardening and is not in need of a wheelchair or scooter, a comfortable height to sit is 18 inches. This height allows the legs to be bend at a comfortable angle and also allows the gardener to sit erect while working at the gardening chores.
Wheelchair or scooter: The height of the gardens I build are 36 inches to the top and this is needed to maintain a depth of soil of at least 6 inches and the framework needed to support it. A more vital number is the clear height beneath the garden which would be 27 inches to allow a standard wheelchair or scooter to be able to go beneath and allow the gardener to be close to the garden without reaching too much.
Reach: The reach or width of a garden that would allow a gardener to be able to reach to the middle of the garden is around 18 inches, which is roughly the length of a person’s forearm from elbow to fingertips. If you have access all the way around the garden on all four sides, you would be at about 36 inches or 3 feet wide. At this width the gardener would be able to reach everything and not need to overreach and compromise their balance or stability.
Although no two people are dimensioned exactly the same, these measurements can serve as a guide to building a garden that is friendly and will accommodate most folks. A better idea would be to work with an occupational therapist to determine the exact measurements that would best fir the individual gardener bring them the greatest comfort and ease of use.
The benefits of gardening are many and I invite you to take another try at gardening if you have thought it to be too hard to do.
For more information on Horticultural Therapy visit the American Horticultural Therapy Association.
For more information on products that help you and those with mobility issues garden, check out my products page at, www.SFGRRV.com/products and remember that proceeds from these products benefit our brave and loyal veterans through the Semper Fi Fund, www.semperfifund.org and is done so through the Square Foot Gardening Foundation.
“Keep Those Fingers Dirty!”
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