As the weather warms up, many people enjoy using their green thumbs for outdoor gardening. Some simple tips for gardeners with vision loss can make the pastime a “wonderful sensory experience.” Here are a few pointers from VisionAware to make the tasks involved easier:
Use landscaping fabric, mulch, or cardboard around plants, which can reduce the frequency of weeding and watering.
Use borders that are colorful, tactile, and high contrast. Examples are edging products like crushed stone, bricks, pieces of lumber, or fencing to mark where the area in use begins and ends. Existing fences or stone can be painted in colors that contrast with green grass, such as yellow or white.
Consider the sensory qualities of plants you choose, such as those with different textures and scents, like geraniums, mint, lavender, roses, and plants with various scents and textures.
Create plant and row markers, using features like large print signs, different colors on brightly painted stones, to denote the type of flower or plant, e.g., white for daisies, red for tulips or tomatoes.
For more details about these and other tips, as well as safety basics for mowing and lawn care, check out VisionAware’s Gardening and Yard Work Tips.
For additional suggestions, visit the mini bibliography of sources from the NLS (National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, Library Congress): Gardening for People with Disabilities. NLS provides a list of titles, with brief descriptions, on accessible gardening for individuals with vision loss as well as other disabilities. Digital braille and audio titles are available for downloading from the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) website. Titles can be requested from local libraries, where you can also ask about registering for BARD.