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Gardening can be immensely rewarding, watching something that you have planted grow, can bring much fulfillment. Not only is it rewarding, but it can also be particularly beneficial to your mental and physical wellbeing. Studies have shown that being out in the fresh air tending to your garden can help to boost morale and mood, as well as lower stress and alleviate depression. It can also be an effective way to remain fit and active, and it assists in strengthening muscles and improving flexibility.
Having to dig, plant, weed, and cut grass can, however, can be problematic for older people, especially for those with mobility impairments. Joint conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis can make gardening challenging and painful. These conditions can limit the amount of bending, and kneeling one can do, and it can impair the user’s ability to grip and operate regular gardening tools.
Physical disabilities or advancing age should not necessarily mean that you have to give up gardening. With the right adapted gardening tools, that are specially designed to help people with mobility impairments, you can still enjoy this pastime. In this article, we will cover some of the best-adapted gardening tools and aids that can help take the strain out of gardening, making it easier and more pleasurable.
Best Tools & Aids for Accessible Gardening
Whether you have painful arthritic joints, or you’re unsteady on your feet, or you use a mobility aid such as a wheelchair or walking cane, there are many handy tools and aids that can make gardening less strenuous and more accessible which include:
1. Raised Garden Beds
For users with restricted mobility, raised garden beds can make gardening much more accessible. Raised beds elevate your plants off the ground so that the user can easily reach them without having to bend or kneel in order to tend to them, while they either sit or stand.
Raised beds are extremely versatile, they can be used to grow all types of plants including flowers, herbaceous perennials, herbs, vegetables and soft fruits.
They are particularly beneficial for wheelchair users, as well as for those that suffer with arthritic joints who find bending and kneeling challenging or painful. Raised garden beds can come in varying widths and heights to suit all types of needs.
For the wheelchair bound, ensure that you choose a garden bed that is at a suitable height so the wheelchair can easily slide beneath it, allowing the user to comfortably reach the bed while seated. If on the other hand, the user can stand independently, choose a raised bed that is approximately waist-high so the user can stand, without needing to bend or stoop, while tending to their plants.
2. Rolling Garden Seat
Repeated kneeling and bending while tending to your garden can put immense strain on your knees and back. Whether you’ve had a recent hip/knee operation, or you’re not as supple as you once were due to your arthritic joints, a rolling garden seat could be the answer to your gardening needs.
A rolling garden seat allows you to carry out low-to-the-ground gardening tasks, such as planting, weeding, or pruning while remaining comfortably seated, thus helping to reduce the strain on your joints and allowing you to take regular breaks.
The following all-terrain rolling garden seat features a height-adjustable swivel seat that can be adjusted to suit users of different heights. The handy built-in storage area allows you to carry essential gardening tools with you so they are within easy reach, and the 10-inch wheels provide good maneuverability over outdoor surfaces.
3. Robotic Lawn Mower
An immaculate lush green lawn is the dream of many a gardener. Maintaining a well-kept lawn throughout the year, can, however, be a labor-intensive and time-consuming task. Keeping care of your lawn will usually involve a range of tasks, including mowing, watering, fertilizing, aerating, weeding, as well as controlling pests. When you have a relatively large garden to look after, trying to keep up with all these chores can be overwhelming.
A chore that many gardeners often struggle with is mowing, especially seniors and those with mobility impairments. Pushing a heavy lawnmower when you’re unsteady on your feet or when you have painful arthritic joints can prove unsafe and impractical.
For the less mobile, a robotic lawn mower can make looking after your lawn much easier and safer. These useful devices are fully automatic so they will cut your lawn for you. All you need to do before using it for the first time is to install the boundary wire around the perimeter of your lawn so that it can detect where it needs to mow, you then just need to set-up the required schedules. Robotic lawn mowers are much quieter than conventional mowers, and they are battery-powered. When the battery is running low, some mowers will automatically return to their charging stations to recharge without any human intervention.
The Worx WR150 Landroid robotic lawn mower can cut up to ½ an acre, so it’s suitable for small to medium-sized gardens. The mower can be controlled via Wi-Fi as well as through an app, allowing you to monitor mowing progress, change mowing schedules, and much more. The mower can navigate through narrow pathways, and it can tackle obstacles in its way without breaking into a sweat. While some robotic lawnmowers are only suitable for flat lawns, the Worx WR150 Landroid can tackle slopes up to 20° without any problems. A great feature that the mower has is it has a rain sensor. Once it detects that it is raining, it will automatically return to its charger and will wait until the lawn is dry.
4. Garden Kneeler
Kneeling on uneven or hard surfaces while tending to your plants can be an uncomfortable and painful experience. The use of a garden kneeler can help to reduce the strain on your knees while you carry out low-to-the-ground gardening chores such as weeding or sowing.
With a garden kneeler, your knees rest on a cushioned padded seat while you kneel. This helps to keep your knees protected, and it makes gardening more comfortable. On either side of the kneeler, there are support handles that can be used by the user to help leverage themselves from a kneeling to a standing position. The kneeler can also be used as a convenient seat, allowing the user to take regular breaks when needed.
Most garden kneelers are lightweight and feature foldable designs so they are easily portable, and they can be stored away when not in use.
5. Easy-Grip Tools
For users with arthritic hands or those with a limited hand strength, trying to operate regular gardening tools such as a trowel, scooper, cultivator, or fork can prove challenging. Using these gardening tools can put increased strain on the user’s wrists, which can cause pain and discomfort.
There are a range of gardening tools available that have been specially designed for users with impaired dexterity. They are often lighter, and they usually feature ergonomically designed handles that are easier to grip and operate.
The following gardening hand cultivator from Easi-Grip features a right-angled handle which helps to keep the user’s arm and wrist in a neutral and more natural position. This helps to alleviate pressures on the joints, and ensures better control and maximizes comfort.
Easi-Grip add-on handles are also available that can be fitted onto traditional gardening tools which allows you to convert your existing tools into easier to use ergonomic ones.
6. Long-Handled Tools
Whether you’re a wheelchair user, or you have difficulty bending, long-handled gardening tools can prove particularly useful as they offer increased reach, and they eliminate the need for any bending or stooping.
There is a wide range of long-handled gardening tools available, including rakes, hoes, forks, and cultivators. The Ergo gardening range from Fiskars, is particularly recommended. The tools are constructed from aluminum, which means they are both lightweight and durable, and they feature an ergonomically designed handle that fits to contours of the hand.
7. Bionic Relief Gardening Gloves
Gloves are an essential part of a gardener’s kit. They help to protect your hands from cuts and grazes, as well as from painful thorns and splinters, and they also keep your hands clean and dry.
Many arthritis sufferers often find, however, that gloves do not provide sufficient support when gardening. Swollen hand joints can make gripping painful, so conventional gardening gloves may not always be adequate for the user’s particular needs.
The following Bionic gardening gloves have been specially designed by an orthopedic hand surgeon for arthritis sufferers. The gloves provide extra support around the wrists, and it offers a more comfortable and secure grip, therefore helping to reduce hand fatigue and pain.
8. Garden Tool Belt/Apron
If you’re a wheelchair/mobility scooter user, or you require the assistance of a walking cane, you will often find trying to carry multiple gardening tools around the garden with you can be challenging, as well as unsafe.
A tool organizer belt or apron is a handy piece of equipment. It allows you to easily carry essential gardening tools around with you while leaving your hands free to safely operate your wheelchair/scooter or use your walking cane.
The following water-resistant large-capacity tool apron features 14 separate pockets providing sufficient space to keep your essential gardening tools with you at all times while out in the garden.
9. Garden Cart
A garden cart is an essential piece of gardening equipment. It allows you to easily transport heavy tools and bulky items such as compost or garden waste around the yard without needing to carry them yourself which reduces the amount of effort and strain.
Unlike with a traditional wheelbarrow, which needs to be lifted and pushed along with both hands, with a garden cart you can simply pull it along with just one hand as it features four wheels. This means if you use a mobility aid such a walking cane, you still have a spare hand to operate the garden cart without needing to rely on others for assistance.
The following heavy-duty Gorilla cart has a 1500 pound weight capacity so it can carry a range of heavy gardening equipment and tools without any problems. The large padded handle is easy to grip which is ideal for users with limited hand dexterity, and the quick-release dumping technology allows you to easily and safely load and unload the cart.
10. Ratchet Secateurs & Powered Secateurs
Cutting away dead branches and trimming back shoots stimulates regrowth, improving the overall health of the plant or tree. For these reasons, regular pruning is vital, and should be undertaken throughout the year if you own a garden.
Using traditional secateurs to prune trees or shrubs can, however, prove challenging for anyone suffering with arthritic hands and for users with a weak grip. Trying to operate secateurs can put excessive strain on the user’s wrists, causing pain.
Ratchet secateurs are a better alternative to traditional secateurs for users suffering with limited hand dexterity. They require less strength to operate, and they cut in stages, which makes cutting through thicker branches and foliage easier. They help to reduce the strain on the gardeners’ hands and wrists, allowing for pain-free pruning.
For pruning through even thicker branches, consider opting for some powered secateurs. These do all the heavy work for you, therefore reducing hand fatigue. The following powered secateurs are lightweight and feature a cushioned grip, so they are comfortable to operate. The high-capacity lithium-ion battery means you can also cut more on just a single charge.
11. Stand-Up Weed Puller
Trying to get rid of pesky weeds can be a time-consuming and backbreaking task. A stand-up weed puller eliminates the need for any bending or kneeling, allowing you to uproot weeds from your lawn and plant beds effortlessly while safely standing up.
The use of a stand-up weed puller can help to reduce the strain on your joints and back, and it reduces the risk of falls, which is particularly useful for users who are unsteady on their feet.
A weed puller is simple to use. Simply place the device over the weed that you would like removing, step down on the foot platform to force the weed puller into the soil, and finally press down on the handle to extract the weed.
12. Long-Handled Leaf Grabber
Having to repeatedly bend down to pick up fallen leaves, grass trimmings, or garden foliage can be a tiring job, and it can also be back-breaking. If you suffer with a bad back, or you’re particularly unsteady on your feet, a long-handled leaf grabber could be the answer.
These simple but effective devices can make light work of picking up garden debris without needing to bend or stoop. The following ergonomic long-reach leaf grabber is 3-in-1 device rakes, scoops, and picks up garden debris, allowing you to easily keep your garden tidy.
13. Lightweight Garden Hose & Drip Irrigation System
Trying to drag a heavy hose around the garden with you when you have limited mobility, or you have poor balance, can be a real struggle. A lightweight hose can be a better alternative than a traditional hose, and they are also less likely to prove a tripping hazard.
If you have a relatively big garden or you’re frequently away from home, consider installing an automated irrigation system. A drip system will eliminate the need to use a hose to water your garden, and it can also be a great save on your water bills as they are usually much more efficient. They simply need to be connected to an outside tap, and it can be programmed to automatically water your plants at regular intervals so your garden will get watered no matter if you’re away or not.