If you use a power wheelchair, mobility scooter or another tool for movement support, gardening can still be an accessible hobby. In fact, gardening is highly adaptable. Options like hydroponic gardens and railing planters make it easier than ever to grow flowers, herbs, fruits or vegetables without needing to sit on the ground.
If you’re ready to flex your green thumb, this guide is for you. Below, we explore five ideas for accessible gardening and backyard farming to help you grow vivid flowers or tasty food. And, if you’re a city-slicker, you don’t even need a backyard space for some of these accessibility-inspired gardening tips.
Let’s get growing!
Ideas for Accessible Gardens and Backyard Farms
What could gardening look like for a wheelchair, walker or scooter user? Let’s explore a few fresh ideas.
Number 1: Raised Beds
While you’ve likely heard of raised beds (garden plots elevated on cinder blocks, wood platforms or simply large dirt piles), there are countless creative and affordable ways to make them more accessible for today’s gardeners. Consider:
- Adding raised beds to a porch area – If you have challenges traversing grassy or loamy surfaces, why not add a raised bed to a hard surface like your porch or driveway? Consider adding a draining pan that directs water away from the porch if you have a wood deck.
- Ditching new wood – If you’re interested in building a raised bed out of wood, you might balk at today’s lumber prices.1 Instead, search for free pallets (commonly found outside of grocery, home improvement or big box stores) or find an architectural salvage in your area.
- Repurposing a card table – While we’ll talk about more table-based solutions below, you can raise your bed to waist height (or above) by repurposing a card table into a raised bed platform. Simply drill drainage holes, add a vertical frame to the tabletop and start planting.
Number 2: Indoor Gardens
If you live in a cold climate or an urban area, you may have fewer outdoor options for gardening. Not to worry — you can actually grow flowers, vegetables and more from the comfort of your living room!
If you live in a small apartment, stick to plants that thrive in pots, like:
If you have a little more space, consider using larger containers for:3
- Hot peppers
- A Meyer lemon tree (if you have ample sunlight)
Number 3: Hydroponic Gardens
In hydroponic gardens, plants grow in a water and nutrient solution instead of in soil.4 While the startup costs can be slightly higher than growing plants in soil, hydroponic gardening can be an accessible, space-saving alternative to traditional gardening.
Since hydroponic gardens are container-based, you can place them on:
- Your kitchen counter
oponic hobby offers room to grow.
If you’re interested in growing your own vegetables, you should strongly consider hydroponic gardening. Hydroponically-grown vegetables:
- Grow faster
- Offer higher yields
- Are less susceptible to insect infestation
- Require less water than soil-grown vegetables
Hydroponic gardeners don’t have to contend with weeds, either.
While hydroponic gardens can be simple, you could also develop more complex setups or nutrient formulas with time. Simply put, a hydr
Number 4: Railing Planters
If you have a balcony or porch railing, railing planters provide an accessible gardening opportunity. Instead of sitting on the ground, railing planters are designed to hang on one or both sides of a horizontal rail.
Since railing planters are generally shallow, consider growing plants that don’t need to put down deep roots, like:5
- Leafy greens
If you’re enlivening a small outdoor space like a porch or balcony, other items might enhance your experience while you’re maintaining your plants or enjoying outdoor time. Consider adding a wind chime or a bird feeder (either a traditional seed feeder or a hummingbird feeder) alongside your rail planter for increased visual appeal.
Number 5: Table-Based Gardening
While the options above are well-established gardening methods, don’t be afraid to get creative! Ultimately, you could adapt many of the techniques above for simple table gardening.
You can grow a table indoors or outdoors, and they’re typically the right height to accommodate wheelchairs and mobility scooters. However, there are a few things to keep in mind if you start a table garden:
- Choosing the right table – For built-in drainage, consider repurposing a patio table with a mesh metal top or a picnic table with slats.
- Treating your table – Before exposing your gardening table to tons of water, dirt and plant matter, consider treating it with a coating to help extend its lifespan. Coat metal tables in a rust-proof solution or cover a wood table with a few coats of polyurethane.
- Placement – Depending on what you’re growing, you might need to place your table in the shade or bright sunlight. Since it’ll be difficult to move once it’s in place, make sure you choose a prime location before adding planters and supplies.
Pride Mobility: Celebrating Active Lifestyles
Gardening is a highly adaptable hobby, making it accessible for wheelchair and mobility scooter users. Whether you get started with raised bed gardening or turn a table into an elevated garden, there are countless ways to add vibrant flowers or tasty fruits, vegetables and herbs to your space.
At Pride Mobility, we’re proud to make products that encourage (and celebrate) active lifestyles. Our Baja Mobility line offers two mobility scooters for today’s adventurers: the Baja Wrangler 2 and the Baja Raptor 2. Whether you’re a trailblazer or an urban explorer, Baja Mobility products are your ticket to adventure.
Find a Pride Mobility dealer near you to experience today’s most exciting mobility innovations in person.