by Jaime Rodriguez, RDPFS Intern
Gardening is a fun, summer leisure activity and yard work is a necessary and, at times difficult, task. However, both can be enjoyable, sensorial experiences and can help to increase happiness and decrease stress if you know some basics about gardening and/or yard care. For beginners, some basics tips may help in getting started:
– If you are creating a flowerbed or vegetable garden, you can section off and enclose it by using commercial edging products, like bricks or pavers, crushed stone, or fencing. Fencing helps to protect gardens from hungry woodland creatures in need of a snack.
– Consider using landscaping fabric, mulch, or corrugated cardboard around plants and seedlings to protect them from weeds and to reduce the need for watering.
– Colorful, textured materials such as woodchips or seashells can be used to mark the perimeter.
If you are blind or have low vision, marking flowers or fruits and vegetables may be challenging. Here are a few suggestions to make the tasks easier and more satisfying:
– Create custom signs or labels, laminate them, and attach them to sticks;
– Use brightly colored or textured stones to mark unique plants; or
– Create a grid pattern using fishing line or yarn, and use tactile objects like beads in each row.
Choosing plants such as mint, lemon, and lavender can provide the experience of different scents, and selecting those with different textures can be helpful too. Consider using an apron, toolbelt, and a plastic tote container for gardening tools to make the experience safer and more enjoyable. If your yard needs to be mowed, be sure to approach the task with caution. Wear long sleeves and pants with closed-toed shoes, along with protective eyewear, a hat, and sunscreen for protection from the sun. Clear any hazards such as tree branches or toys, and mow in sections, taking time to stay oriented within your mowing area. For more information, please check out the APH Vision Aware webpage titled, “Gardening and Yard Work Tips.”