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How do I build an accessible garden?

For wheelchair accessible gardens, raised beds 18-24 inches high are recommended. Planters 30-36 inches tall will reduce the need for bending over while gardening from a standing position. Standing planters are another good option; they cost less and require less soil than similar height raised beds.

Pathways between planters should be 3-4 feet wide to allow for wheelchair access. In general, garden beds should be no more than 4 feet wide, if accessible from both sides, and 2-3 feet wide where access is limited to one side only.

U-shaped raised beds work especially well for accessible gardening, creating a wrap-around garden that can be reached from a central position. Octagon raised beds have rounded corners, making it easier to negotiate wheelchairs on pathways.

Public gardens such as community gardens and school gardens are required by law to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements (ADA). For more tips and advice see this article on Accessible Gardening for Therapeutic Horticulture.