Gardening is a beloved activity by many people and, to some extent, it can even be considered therapeutic. But some tasks, that are easily accomplished when young and in good health, can become a bit more difficult to execute as the years go by and our physical abilities decline. However, gardening is a great activity to conduct as it keeps you moving and maintaining a regular physical activity can help you stay healthy.
Though, if you feel like your current garden maintenance is too much for you, here are six tips to help you keep gardening in an easier way.
Decrease the size of your lawn.
If you can no longer push an electric or power lawn mower and have difficulty driving a riding mower, try replacing your high-maintenance lawn with ground covers such as bishops’ weeds, creeping juniper, or creeping phlox. You can also replace part of your lawn with ornamental grasses such as plume grass, maiden grass, and blue fescue. They’re drought-resistant, grow well in most soils, seldom require fertilizer, and have few pest and disease problems.
Build raised garden beds.
If you have trouble getting into your garden-and even more trouble getting out of it-try bringing the garden higher up. Buy or build raised garden beds adjusted to your height-whether it’s wheelchair, sitting, or standing height-to minimize bending, kneeling, and stooping. Make sure beds are no more than 3 feet wide so you can comfortably reach across them. Some raised beds provide a place to sit while you garden. If not, use a bench, chair, or stool to avoid hunching over beds.
Contain your garden.
If you don’t have space for raised beds, use containers, window boxes, or pots that sit on tables. To keep containers light, fill the bottom third with recycled Styrofoam popcorn, crumpled plastic milk cartons, containers from nursery annuals, or plastic seasonal Easter eggs. These lightweight materials enhance drainage and make pots lighter. Or place containers on castors for easy movement. If you have trouble reaching hanging baskets, use retractable baskets that you can lower to a comfortable height for watering.
Keep a water source close to your garden.
Instead of hauling heavy watering cans to your garden, weave soaker hoses throughout garden beds to saturate the base of plants. Or use a sprinkler large enough to water your entire garden so you don’t have to move it. Store your heavy garden hose in a caddy that you can wheel around and unroll as needed. Mulch your garden at least 2 inches deep to slow water evaporation. Use self-watering containers, window boxes, and rolling planters with big water reservoirs that keep soil moist. These containers have water-level indicators that let you know when to water.
Plan ahead and take frequent breaks.
Provide a place for tool storage that’s close to the garden-a small shed, cabinet, or wooden box mounted on a fence. If you don’t have a garden shed, use a child’s wagon or bucket to carry gardening tools, soil, and plants with you instead of running back and forth. Or wear a carpenter’s apron with several pockets for carrying tools that you frequently use. If you normally use a walker or a cane, take them with you in the garden to prevent trips or falls on uneven ground. Follow these tips and you will spend less time doing garden chores and more time admiring your garden.
Use appropriate tools.
Gardening can hardly be done without the use of any tool. However, you can always adjust to your physical condition and abilities. Be sure to choose only equipment and power tools, like weed eaters, that you can easily carry and safely use.