Adaptive GardeningTM is the practice of making gardening accessible for everyone, finding ways to overcome physical, psychlogical and social barriers to taking part in gardening activities.
The links below offer ways to adapt the physical environment, overcome cultural and institutional barriers to participation and help to create enjoyable gardening experiences for everyone.
Adapting the Physical Environment
See our Accessible Paths and Raised Beds page for information on the dimensions and construction of paths and raised beds.
The planting choices at your garden can be crucial to how someone feels when entering and using the area. Large, dark and looming conifers in a corner or at a gateway for instance, can be forbidding and intimidating. Lots of overgrown, spiny plants can make a path a no-go area for someone with a visual impairment.
Here's a host of raised bed ideas, plans, photos and 'How to's' to inspire you at A Piece of Rainbow, see http://www.apieceofrainbow.com/20-diy-raised-bed-gardens/
For a range of accessible planters you can grow veg in, try Veg trugs http://www.vegtrug.com/range/
Cultural and Institutional Barriers
Consider all aspects of your gardening project from the point of view of the different people who will visit. Ask people from different backgrounds and with different disabilities or health conditions to do an 'audit' or 'secret shopper' assessment of your site and activity programmes and be prepared to appreciate their constructive criticism.
Everything from the timing of your gardening sessions to the location and transport links to the signage, languages spoken, and the ethnic and gender make up of your staff and volunteer team may be having an effect, positive or negative. Dress requirements - protective equipment too - may help or hinder some people in taking part. A trial period where people come along for an informal try out and then a gentle building up of the time they spend with you can help people feel more able to take part. Training for your staff and volunteers in providing sensitive support to everyone whom you hope will take part is another way to make your project welcoming. Buddy systems can make a huge difference - especially on allotment sites where there's a 'use it or lose it' rule for plots. For gardeners who worry their health may deteriorate, knowing a buddy will help tend their plot when they can't brings peace of mind.
Trellis Fact Sheets
Square Foot Gardens
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, or UNCRC, is the basis of all of Unicef’s work. It is the most complete statement of children’s rights ever produced and is the most widely-ratified international human rights treaty in history. Click here to link to the UNCRC site
Visiting a garden this summer?
Are you a garden open to the public?
Why not rate it for accessibility with Euan's Guide ?
Through Facebook , online or with The Euan's Guide app available from the App Store and Google play, you can rate and find out how accessible venues actually are directly from the people who use them!