Accessible Gardening : NCHPAD – Building Inclusive Communities


Gardening is a healthy and simple way to enjoy safe and comfortable physical and mental activity.  One can engage in gardening and structure it to leisure-time physical activity or focus on equally important fine/gross motor skills, flexibility, balance, and eye/hand coordination.  The benefits of gardening are well-documented; formal programs in horticultural therapy use plants and plant-related activities to promote health and wellness for an individual or group. Horticultural therapy has been used to improve mobility, muscle coordination and strength, balance, endurance, socialization, and memory skills.  Gardening can become part of a healthy and active lifestyle for people with disability with some simple adaptations to the garden, gardener, and plants.

Universal Design (UD) is an approach to design that increases the potential for developing a better quality of life for a wide range of individuals. It is a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation (Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012). It creates products, systems, and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation.