Managing a disability can sometimes make you feel like you need some ‘down time’. It can be hard to find somewhere quiet, peaceful and relaxing when you’re limited by poor accessibility, but have you stopped to think recently that you could be living seconds from your sanctuary?
Your garden can be your ‘little patch of heaven’ – colourful flowers, the gentle buzzing of a bee, the occasional fluttering of butterfly wings and many beautiful scents, coupled with a light breeze and the warmth of the sun can really soothe the mind. What’s more, your garden is an ever-changing space that brings something new each day – plants and trees change with the seasons, autumn brings crunchy leaves, you can enjoy the refreshing rain and you’ll see different types of wildlife at every time of the year. Gardens are sensory spaces, places to escape from the noise and chaos of the surrounding world, and you can design your garden to your own personal tastes and preferences.
How does your garden grow?
Some people enjoy a traditional garden with neat rows of flowers and expansive grassy spaces. Some people like water features, trickling streams and waterfalls. Some people like pebbles or paving. Your garden can look however you want, with sheltered spaces and open areas to suit your needs and requirements. What’s more, your garden can be designed to work with your disability rather than against it – solid level pathways for wheelchairs, strongly scented flowers to be enjoyed by those with visual impairments and perhaps a garden den enabling a child with a disability to enjoy some outdoor time with friends, can all be added to your own unique garden plan.
How else can a garden be a sanctuary for someone with a disability?
The maintenance of a garden can be just as therapeutic as spending time in it. Gardening is a popular hobby, and for very good reason. The sense of achievement that comes from successfully growing plants and flowers is one that not everyone gets to enjoy – some people simply aren’t green-fingered, or they find that they don’t have time, but if you have even an hour or two to spare each week then you can look after your garden yourself.
If you’re not able to get to ground level then consider planting flowers in raise plant pots on stands, or fixed to a wall. You can even grow your own herbs for cooking, or deliberately pick out plants to attract bees or butterflies. In addition, a bird table and bird bath can be appreciated additions to your garden along with, if you’re feeling more adventurous, a ‘bug hotel’ or a hedgehog house.
Garden aids such as kneeling mats, easy grip garden tools and a garden trolley make it possible for people with restricted mobility to enjoy many of the more intensive gardening activities that they might have considered to be out of their reach, which means that maintaining your garden can be an ‘interest’ for you and not something that someone else will do on your behalf. You’re likely to find that gardening can be great for stress relief – pruning plants, feeding the fish in the pond and mowing the lawn can all be enjoyable activities when you have time to focus on them and the right tools and supports.