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Accessible Paths and Raised Beds
The Fieldfare Trust produce these useful guidelines for creating accessible paths (outlined below) further detail can be found at http://www.fieldfare.org.uk/?page_id=50
- Path Surface must be hard but may have some loose stones but not covering the whole surface (stones no bigger than 10mm).
- Path Width 1000mm minimum width.
1.5m - room for 1 wheelchair plus pedestrian alongside.
1.0m - room for 1 wheelchair with no room alongside.)
- No stiles, steps, fences, hedges etc., blocking the path.
- Ramp Gradient 1:10 maximum.
- Passing Place There should be a passing place every 150 metres along the path. The minimum width of the path should be 1500mm for 2000mm along the length of the path. Resting Places There should be a resting point every 300m along the path. Each resting point should have a seat or perch which is placed on surfaced, level ground. Resting points should be set back from the path and, in addition to the path width, be at least 1200mm wide and 1500mm long.
The Sensory Trust also offers useful information paths and hard surface types http://www.sensorytrust.org.uk/information/factsheets/outdoor_ip.html
If you’d like your garden to be dementia friendly( and therefor accessible to all ) consider a figure of eight or circular path as it returns you to the entrance/exit.
Wheelchair accessible outdoor table beds, where the wheelchair user can get their legs and chair under the ‘ table‘ and sit comfortably with the soil surface immediately in front of them and within easy reach. CClick here for table bed specifications to build one.
You might also want to consider a wheelchair accessible potting table (very useful for those who also like to sit down for the job too!) for potting up, pricking out, re-potting houseplants and all those messy earthy jobs. Can be devised from placing a potting tray ( plastic, 3 sided trays available from garden centres etc.) on any suitable table.
Adapting existing raised beds. Solid wall raised beds, at a suitable working height for wheelchair users allow people to sit side on and garden. Creating indentations in these solid beds allows wheelchair or ordinary chair access for those that cannot stand for long periods . Also, incorporating smooth/comfortable seat areas on the tops of raised beds enable people to perch/ sit and garden to the side, see Adaptive Gardening Factsheet for practical suggestions to make gardening accessible and interesting for all