When you design a garden, you should think of everyone. The garden should be a place where people can relax and spend time with friends and family; somewhere for everyone to enjoy. We all have different needs and requirements. Does your garden currently accommodate everyone? Until you are in a position where accessibility is an issue, you wouldn't realise how challenging the world can be for people with disabilities. Poorly adapted spaces are a daily challenge faced by millions of disabled people in the UK.
Let's take a minute to think about your garden and the obstacles within it. In your average garden in the UK, you will have features such as steps and level changes; then, you must consider issues caused by poor craft, such as uneven and rocking paving slabs. To a person with limited mobility, there are many different hazards to consider - when our Chesterfield landscape gardeners create a design, we try to mitigate these challenges wherever possible.
Why should I care? I don't have any mobility issues; why does my garden need to be accessible? Although even if this house will not be where you live forever, implementing an accessible garden design is worthwhile because it may be a selling point for a potential property buyer in the future. If this is your forever home, one day, you may be in a position where you need an accessible garden; people don't tend to undertake a garden transformation very often, so preparing your property for the future is a wise idea. People will not pull out of a potential sale because you have installed an accessible garden, but it will be a deal breaker if somebody in a wheelchair wishes to purchase the property.
When you create an accessible garden, you promote equality between everyone. Our landscape gardeners in Chesterfield have amassed a wealth of experience in creating accessible gardens, catering to various differing requirements. Throughout this article, we will explore some of the different design techniques you can adopt to ensure that your garden is accessible to all.
Follow good practice when laying paving
Walking across a slightly uneven surface would not be challenging if you are graced with perfect mobility. It's an entirely different story when you are the person who is struggling to tackle the terrain. People who suffer from decreased mobility will have to consider where they go and if they can navigate the obstacles in the landscape.
Ensuring that paving is laid smoothly without lips and bumps between slabs is integral to using the space by people with limited mobility. Some types of paving, such as riven Indian sandstone, are not a uniform thickness when they arrive with our Chesterfield landscape gardeners, but by following good practice, you can mitigate any lips between the paving slabs. When you use smaller paving slabs, the chances of uneven edges increase tenfold as you have more joints to ensure they are level. Our Chesterfield landscapers recommend using the largest paving slabs available to reduce the number of joints in your patio. For high-quality Indian stones to use in your garden project, we advise checking our friends over at Sanderson Stone.
In the above example, we have talked about the potential for Indian sandstone to be uneven; as a natural stone product, it will never be completely perfect. The materials you choose to use in your project will make a massive difference to the accessibility of the garden. If you decide to use gravel rather than a paving slab, your garden will be massively more inaccessible to somebody in a wheelchair. When choosing to pave for an accessible garden design, our landscapers in Chesterfield would recommend outdoor porcelain tiles because they are uniform in their profile, allowing for perfectly even joints. Another advantage of porcelain is that it boasts anti-slip properties and is exceptionally resistant to frost, ensuring that people will not have accidents when walking across your patio in the UK's unpredictable winter months.
Should you have different levels in an accessible garden?
When we talked about incorporating level changes into your garden's design in one of our more recent blog posts, we discussed its advantages. In the average garden design, our landscape gardeners in Chesterfield tend to favour level changes as they add an element of sophistication to a garden's design. But when it comes to people with accessibility issues, should you still incorporate level changes? Perhaps not. Adding a second or even third level to a garden's design will inevitably create the need to include steps which can be a nightmare for people with reduced mobility.
Sometimes we are forced to incorporate level changes into the designs we create, and where we cannot avoid level changes, we need to find a solution. Suppose we have to include a split-level design in your garden. In that case, we may need to look at integrating a ramp somewhere in the layout to enable accessibility. Where your level of mobility allows, we can look at building shallower steps to accommodate your range of movement. Alongside the step, to further aid your ability to move around the garden, we can install handrails and other mobility aids to ensure that the space is as user-friendly as possible.
Our job as a landscaping company is to make your garden as accessible as possible whilst making it look amazing at the same time. Our landscapers in Chesterfield are well versed in creating accessible spaces, so when you ask us to help, you are in very safe hands.
Maintaining an accessible garden
You are going to want to look after your new garden, so designing it in such a way that you can access every part of it is going to be extremely important. Of course, you can get our Chesterfield landscapers to help you with the ongoing maintenance of your garden, but what if we create a design for an avid gardener with mobility challenges? They are going to want to keep their garden looking pristine themselves! To mitigate this challenge, when designing your garden, we would ensure that all pathways are accessible with the features well-positioned to allow full access to everything you need to maintain.
Sometimes when designing an accessible garden, we must be honest and advise against including some features. We want to ensure that your garden design suits your unique requirements. Therefore we will share our previous experience to allow you to get the most out of your garden transformation. For example, a normal flowerbed may not be the most suitable option; in this instance, we may consider installing a raised flowerbed with railway sleepers to allow you to access this garden feature quickly. As part of our digital garden design service, we offer insight regarding planting. Why not ask our Chesterfield garden designer for information on plants that require minor maintenance?
Bespoke and accessible gardens that still look great
Designing a garden that everyone can enjoy should be the starting point for any garden design. Our team of landscape gardeners in Chesterfield will always try to make a garden design user-friendly for people of all different backgrounds and abilities. Transforming your garden with accessibility at the core of the design's structure may seem like a complicated challenge. Please trust us when we say designing an accessible garden is not as big of a challenge as you may think. If you have accessibility issues, please be open and honest with us from the start; this will allow our team of Chesterfield landscapers to work with you to create the most suitable design for your unique requirements. Would you like to discuss the transformation of your garden with accessibility in mind? Let's arrange an initial consultation for you to get the ball rolling with your project.