Improving Garden Layout to Save Energy

Gardening Tips
Garden Layout

If you want to enjoy gardening and to dedicate time to it, it's important that your garden is functional and that it allows you to move freely around it. This may not be a problem for many people, but those who have mobility issues or can' stand for a long time will sure benefit from the right garden layout.

The layout of a garden is important for more things than simple aesthetics. It often plays an important role in the plant selection and making your chosen plants thrive. In addition to this, garden layout can be of a great help to you, too. This is important for everyone, especially those who can't move freely.

The Importance of Garden Layout

Garden layout plays an important role for the gardener. It can make your life easier or more difficult, depending on the way the garden is organized. Helpful, easy to reach garden will make a real difference to your gardening. It will make you more productive and it will also make you enjoy gardening more.

You may think that it takes a lot of work to make a helpful garden layout or to transform your existing layout into something more accessible, think twice. While it may sound complicated, it's actually very easy. You don't even have to change everything about your garden or invest a lot of money into it. Several key tips and tricks are enough to improve your garden's functionality.

These tips are made for all gardeners, especially those with reduced mobility (or gardeners in wheelchairs).

Easy Access

The first thing you need to do is to make easy access to all parts of our gardening. The goal is to make it easy to move around the garden, be it on feet or in a wheelchair. Also, don't forget to plan plenty of spots for seats around the garden, especially in shady areas. This will help you save energy while moving and allow you to take some rest during the hot days.

It's important that you can reach all of the corners of the garden easily. Big, wide lawns are not the best choice. They take a lot of time to maintain. Instead, opt for a semi-wild lawn with plenty of mown paths. It will allow you to move freely. Since lawns in general require a lot of effort, you may decide to replace your with a hard surface.

In your garden, make sure that you can reach all of the plants easily. It's best to make borders and beds not larger than 2 foot (60 cm) wide (if you have access only from one side). Double that size if you can reach the beds from all sides.

It's important to make sure that all of the ground level areas are easy to maintain. It will keep all the heavy jobs (such as digging or weeding) to a minimum.

Smaller Features

The smaller the garden, the easier it is to control it. Think about smaller features you can use in your garden. Raised beds are a great way to organize your garden, and they are not difficult to maintain. It's only important not to raise them too much: only a few inches is enough. Alternatively, you may raise them more so they are on a level comfortable for you while you sit or stand.

If you really want to have a pond in your garden, opt for small raised pond instead of a large, ground one. Ground level ponds require a lot of heavy jobs such as clearing weed. You won't get these problems with a raised pond. Also, you may want to install a low-maintenance water feature instead of a pond. It's even easier to maintain and it will give you the sound and visual effect of flowing water you can enjoy.

Finally, if none of the above works for you, it's possible to focus your efforts to container gardening. Container growing is easy, fun and it doesn't require you to move much. It may be a great way for people with reduced mobility and those who don't want to walk around the garden.

Paths, Levels and Ramps

It's vital to ensure that you can move freely around your garden. Your garden should be full of wide, easily accessible paths with plenty of rest stops. Don't worry about making the actual garden space smaller because of it: you may not be able to grow as many plants as your neighbor, but you will be able to take a great care of them and make them thrive.

The safest paths are even and with a surface that gives a good grip, so make sure to make them that way.

Different levels may pose a problem, so consider installing a ramp. This will allow you to move safely.

If you want to build ramps, make sure they are at least 3 feet wide. If you need to use a wheelchair, consider the turning circle of the wheelchair (it may be as high as 7-8 feet). When installing a ramp, make sure to add a handrail so you can move safely up and down the ramp.

Plants to Choose

Your choice of plants can also contribute to your overall enjoyment. Some plants are more difficult to maintain and care for, so you should stay away from them. Instead, choose beginner-friendly plants that don't allow much physical effort to care for.

If you want to have trees and shrubs, make sure they are of the right size for the space you have available. This will save you a lot of time and effort because you won't have to prune them regularly.

Weeding is a hard, tedious job, so it's important to minimize the weeds in your garden. One of the best ways to do it is to choose ground cover planting.

Stay away from high-maintenance plants, such as those that take up too much space, rampant growers, those that cast too much shade or those that can be hazardous.

It's best not to grow any hedges. They look nice but they require a lot of maintenance. They need to be cut back regularly. If you want to have some sort of a barrier around your garden, it's better to install a wall or a fence with climbing plants.

In case you really want to grow fruit trees, choose espalier or cordon trained varieties. They grow fruit at a much lower level, so it's within easy reach.

Additional Tips

Put a handy table in your garden so you can use it for various gardening jobs, such as potting up or sowing. A recess in the table makes it easy to reach things.

To make watering easy, install water butts or stand pipes all around the garden. This will save you time and effort when watering.

Paving is important. It must be non-slip and non-glare. It's vital that the paving is safe for you to move without a problem.

To make composting easier, it's important to choose the method that requires the least time and effort. There are many different ways to do composting and many different ways to position your bins, so choose the one that suits you best. For example, your compost bin should be installed in a height that is the most convenient for you. A compost bin on the right height will greatly reduce bending you need to do.

Any power tools you may want to use need to be safe and fitted with a residual circuit breaker.

When it comes the time to move things around, choose the best possible equipment. Barrows that can be used with one hand, trolleys, flexible buckets or twin-wheeled, lightweight barrows are great choices that will save a lot of energy.

Photo credit: Dan Harper

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