Accessible Gardens for Persons with Disabilities

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.

RIver rock and brightly colored flowers surround a metal water feature
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
woman in a wheelchair gardening in a raised bed
A raised bed designed to accommodate wheelchairs Photo credit: mmennonno Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

Additional Resources:

ADA: The Universal-Accessible Garden


Washington: Enabling Garden