Designing a Barrier Free Garden

Community gardens create opportunities for learning and community participation, and of course, the freshest possible food at harvest time. By going the extra steps to make a community barrier free, all people in your neighbourhood can have the experience of gardening.

Barrier free gardens mean no physical barriers prevent people with mobility or sensory challenges from taking part, and offer accessible places for wheelchairs, and features for the visually or hearing impaired.

Some fey features of accessible gardens include:

  • A minimum pathway width of 152 cm wide, with a gentle slope of 2.5% or less.
  • Firm porous pathway surfaces, like concrete, brick or decomposed granite.
  • Raised garden beds and table planters. 
  • Don’t forget some simple visual markers, for people with poor eye sight. Use yellow paint along the edge of pathways and to highlight steps.
  • If purchasing communal tools, remember that extendable tools made from lightweight aluminum alloy that have gripping and other design features are easier to use.

Thrive is a helpful website that gives great suggestions on how to choose gardening tools and equipment.

For more detailed information, please see the Barrier-free Community Gardening in Waterloo Region toolkit that outlines the steps for planning and designing a barrier free garden.

Find out more here!