Accessibility and safety don’t just apply to your indoor spaces. Being independent and participating in the activities you enjoy outdoors, like gardening, should also be a priority. However, you may need to make some adjustments so you can continue to enjoy spending time in the yard and garden you love.
Gardening not only has the reward of tasty vegetables to eat and beautiful flowers and landscaping to enjoy. Gardening also has many health benefits from vitamin D exposure, a decreased risk of dementia, improved mood, and increased flexibility and strength. If you are concerned that your physical limitations will keep you from gardening, we have 10 tools and exterior design ideas to keep you enjoying your garden for years to come. Just remember to wear sunscreen, a hat, and stay hydrated!
Ruby can do as little or as much exterior design and safety work as you want or need, with a focus on accessibility and reducing fall risk. Our accessibility updates include both interior and exterior living spaces. At your parents’ home visit, a Certified Aging in Place Specialist will spend 2 hours with your family, in-person or virtually. They’ll perform a home assessment based on your parents’ unique goals and home and will make improvements and recommend products to make your home and outdoor spaces safe and comfortable.
Lighting is a safety feature that is often overlooked. As the sun rises or sets and it begins to get dark, the risk of falling increases. Eye problems like cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration add to the problem.
Installing automatic lights that come on in the dark along the walkways, at entrances and exits, and throughout the outside area will keep you safe and gardening for as many hours as you want.
Even if you use a walker, having wide, smooth pathways free of impediments and tripping hazards will ensure a safe journey to every part of your outdoor area. Ruby can redesign your walkways to accommodate any kind of mobility device, including motorized wheelchairs, so you can have the freedom to move about as you wish.
Raised flower and vegetable beds can be a lifesaver. Elevated garden boxes ensure that you can still enjoy gardening if you have physical restrictions since you don’t have to stoop and bend.
Raised planters come in different variations such as kits, bags, beds with wheels. Or, you could opt for vertical planting designs such as wall-mounted planters or trellis spaces. Raised beds and containers are more comfortable to plant, weed and tend. Ruby can help you decide on the safest, most convenient option for your situation.
Most people don’t think about storage needs when it comes to outdoor space. Without a well-designed storage area, it is unsafe and difficult to get what you need when you need it. Tools that are too high or otherwise inaccessible are a safety hazard. At Ruby, we can help you choose a system that works for your specific requirements.
Many older homes were built without much if any thought about accessibility and safety. The outdoor spaces reflect the trend of that time with poorly designed walkways, minimal lighting, if any at all, poor entrance and exits with lips and narrow doorways. In these cases, you may decide to start from scratch and get the space you want. Ruby works with contractors who know what accessible, invisible design is. We can manage the project from the design all the way through construction and beyond, so the experience is seamless and stress-free. In the end, you will have the landscape you always dreamed of.
The good news is that there are hundreds of ergonomic gardening tools and gadgets to choose from. That is the bad news too! It can be overwhelming to choose, but at Ruby, we have a CAPS occupational therapist who can help you shop for tools that are safe and well-made. Here are just a few suggestions. Many of these are for anyone of any age who enjoys gardening.
If you have never used a kneeling pad, you are in for a treat. A kneeling pad may the most cost-effective and comfortable way to plant and weed. But, to use the pad itself, you have to bend down on to your knees. The Garden Kneeler Seat allows you to sit or flip it over and kneel.
A garden and lawn cart holds the gardening tools you need and offers a place to sit down. The lid flips up so you can easily pull the cart behind you. This model also has cup holders.
This model is great for hauling around heavy plants or tools. It also has removable sides so you don’t have to lift heavy objects higher than necessary:
Ergonomic tools provide additional leverage while reducing stress on the arm, wrist, and hands. These tools are perfect for people with arthritis or other limitations.
You may not need these bionic relief grip gloves, but leather gloves are an essential gardening addition to keep your hands from getting cuts and scrapes. These bionic relief grip gloves are made to provide comfort and support to people with sensitive or arthritic hands.
Long-handled tools can prevent back strain and make gardening more comfortable so you can last longer. There are many choices, and this Radius Garden 22011 Root Slayer Shovel will give you an idea of the ingenuity of long-handled tools.
Whatever your limitations, your passion for gardening is an interest that you can pursue safely and comfortably. Contact Ruby at 1-833-MEET-RUBY to schedule an assessment that meets your needs and budget.
Here are our top recommendations to keep your home and kitchen safe
Here's how to ensure safety in small spaces
Consider these alternative options when seeking the right living situation for your aging parent
Ruby is backed by 25madison, an NYC based venture studio, incubating companies from the ground up and investing in early-stage companies.