Accessible Gardens for Persons with Disabilities

Water Conservation for Lawn and Landscape November 20, 2014 Print Friendly and PDF

Accessible gardens for persons with disabilities are designed to provide access to gardening activities or simply provide a garden experience for persons of all ages and abilities allowing full participation in the pleasurable activity of growing plants. 

Sensory components of gardens are also an important factor in designing for persons with a variety of abilities. Fragrant flowers or herbs and large areas of bright color can be strategically planted for people who are sight impaired. Water features can also provide different aural experiences.

Proximity of plants to walkways for touching, as well as creating sound with plants, can also provide a meaningful experience for many people regardless of ability.

Planting bed shape and height can be varied to accommodate wheelchairs or other assistive devices. Gardening tools can also be adapted to provide easier use.  For instance, a person with arthritis might need a hand tool with a better designed grip and padding to provide easier handling.  


Brightly colored and scented flowers with a water feature creates a pleasing atmosphere in a sensory garden. Photo credit: Martin Pettitt Flickr CC BY 2.0


A raised bed designed to accommodate wheelchairs
Photo credit: mmennonno Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0


Additional Resources:


Washington: Enabling Garden
Utah: How Your Garden Grows


Minnesota - Accessible Gardening for Theraputic Horticulture


Pennsylvania: The Universal-Accessible Garden
Pennsylvania: Senior Gardens


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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.