Making a garden that is safe and fun for children with disability

Gardens can be a great place for all people to learn, relax, and experience the beauty that nature has to offer. 

It’s important to ensure that a garden is safe for all of its visitors. When building a garden for children with disability, you should take measures to make sure that it is safe as well as fun. While children should be supervised in the garden, creating a space that is safe and secure to explore can provide additional peace of mind for parents and caregivers. 

Today, we take a look at some of the measures you may wish to implement to build a garden that is safe and fun for children with disability. 

Consider planting sensory plants

Sensory plants can be a great way to get all children excited about gardening. This can include plants that have beautiful, bright colours, fragrant scents, or interesting textures. Some examples of sensory plants include:

  • Lavender: For its gentle scent and striking colour.
  • Lamb’s ear: For its velvety soft feeling.
  • Rosemary: For its rich aroma.
  • Sunflower: For its bright colour (and yummy seeds!).
  • Lemon balm: For its citrusy aroma and fun, rustling leaves.

Incorporate other sensory elements

You don’t need to simply rely on plants to provide sensory stimulation, other toys and accessories can also be incorporated. For sound stimulation, this could be an item such as a windchime, for touch it could be a bucket, or incorporate sight and touch with a set of bright and colourful kids gardening tools. Craft activities can also be used as a sensory experience while also providing a time for learning and bonding. This could be an activity such as painting flowerpots with different colours and designs or adding toys and equipment for suitable play. 

Grow some veggies

Making a veggie patch is another great way to get children with disability excited about gardening. Veggie patches offer an opportunity to grow your own vegetables while also providing many learning opportunities. They can help children to understand the process of how the food they eat ends up on their plate. Some great veggies to include in your veggie patch include lettuce, carrots, snow peas, and onions. Each of these plants reaches maturity relatively quickly, meaning they can be harvested without long wait times. Children can be given tasks to help out with the veggie patch, such as watering, planting, or picking the veggies. 

Avoid poisonous, toxic, or painful plants

Plants that are poisonous, toxic, or painful should be avoided if your garden is being designed with children in mind. This can include alluring roses with their sharp thorns that can prick inquisitive hands. Before choosing any plants for your garden, you should research to make sure they are not poisonous or toxic. Some plants may not be poisonous or toxic when touched but can cause issues when ingested, so it’s important to check to ensure each plant you incorporate is completely safe. 

Enclose your garden

When designing a garden for children, you should take extra precautions to provide secure fencing and childproofing. Walk around the perimeter of your yard and check for any damage, breaks or holes that could allow for escape. Mend these holes, or install a new fence if the damage is particularly bad. Childproofing can also include adding childproof gates to potentially hazardous areas such as stairs and garden sheds that contain dangerous equipment. 

Make the space accessible

If your child is in a wheelchair or requires assistance walking, then you are likely considering a ramp to make the garden more accessible to them. Other garden accessibility aids can include stairlifts and steadying aids. There are many professionals who are able to add these features to your garden to ensure it is accessible for the whole family.

Choose the right kind of materials 

If children with disability spend time in your garden, it’s important to consider the materials you have present and how they may have a negative impact. For example, you should avoid using gravel in your garden as it can be easily ingested and painful if fallen on. Instead, opt for natural alternatives such as leaf mulch or grass. Other surfaces that may be suited include wooden decking or artificial grass. Suitable materials for your garden will depend upon your child. 

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