If you are planning on creating an enabling garden, or just trying to make your existing landscaping more accessible, it may be a good idea to visit an operational garden to get some good ideas and inspiration.
Check out some of the following gardens that offer programs, equipment, and even theme that you could use as inspiration for your own site!
Within the Chicago Botanical Garden, there is the Beuhler Enabling Garden that features almost 11,000 square feet of land that is dedicated to helping people of all ages and disabilities garden.
This enchanting enabling garden included raised beds; hanging container gardens that can be raised or lowered, water features, and tactile beds to help the visually impaired. The entire garden features wide paved paths so the site is entirely wheelchair accessible.
At the Henry P. Leu Gardens, the air is full or fragrant flowers, soothing sounds, and lovely colors! The highlight here is that wheelchair visitors can take in the same beauty as any other gardener. This garden features raised beds of trimmed grass, so visitors can get out of the wheelchair easily, and enjoy sitting on the soft grass. There are also gardens for the visual and mobility impaired.
The Guelph Enabling Garden is part of a handful of gardens that prides itself on being fully accessible to people of all ages with physical impairments or developmental delays. The Guelph Enabling Gardens is fully supported by the community and volunteer help, and has a wide variety of horticultural activities and classes.
It features raised beds, sensory gardens, and arbors which are all nestled among a meandering path. The garden is still growing, as boardwalks expand over the river, and water features are all still in the works!
The Troy Enabling Garden, even though it is no fully wheel chair accessible, offers raised beds to community members who cannot care for a traditional garden. The gardeners get to choose what plants go in their beds, and they come to work on their garden space one a week, at least. They also get to enjoy the fruits of their harvests. Provided are workshops that range on topics from food preservation to organic growing to pest control.
Students from local schools and day cares are instrumental in the design and maintenance of the John F. Lacey Enabling Garden. The beds feature a pizza theme, and there are carefully stenciled alphabet signs that bring a whimsy to the garden. The Lacey Garden also features a unique sensory garden, with five raised beds, each representing one of the five senses.
Mount Vernon, Washington
The Discovery Garden, part of Washington State University, is both a children’s garden and enabling garden. This creates a clear picture that people for all ages and abilities can enjoy and love gardening. The enabling garden is wheel chair accessible, and features raised beds of different heights, tabletop beds, and vertical gardens. They provide modified equipment for visitors to examine and try. The children’s area will teach young gardener’s ideas like plant selections and composting through hands on experience.
In Macon’s Central City Park there is the Alzheimer’s Memory Garden. This garden uses traditional garden sounds, smells, and sights to try and stimulate memories in adults with Alzheimer’s. It features slip resistant pathways that are totally wheel chair accessible. All of the plants in the garden are also non-toxic.