Things to consider when building gardens for the visually challenged

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Connecting with nature isn’t limited to visual contact alone. It could also be about sound, scent, and other intangible factors that contribute to the overall connection and impact of nature on a person. With this in mind, visual impairment and blindness do not necessarily have to prevent the fun that activities such as gardening could provide. 


Sensory gardens

A garden that is suitable for the blind or individuals with low vision is a type of garden that pleases other senses aside from sight. This garden involves plants that one can touch, smell, taste, and hear. Through meticulous planning, the right materials, and regular maintenance, a garden can be turned into an accessible and efficient zone, which will allow handicapped gardeners to be independent and safe in the garden. 


To create a sensory garden, here are some elements you’ll need to consider: 


Pathway. The most important component in a sensory garden is creating a simple, linear footpath with indicators such as shrubs or different pathway textures that will mark any changes in direction. Walkways, especially with curves or slopes, must go with proper railings or guided ropes as well. 


Plant beds. Grow plants in raised beds with three feet width maximum to make the center of the bed reachable for gardeners on both sides. Consider categorizing plants by color and arranging them in straight rows for easier gardening, particularly for those individuals with limited vision.


Scent and sound. Select plants that are soothing and have a pleasant smell. Make sure not to overdo and to balance the smell as some gardeners might find it too strong or unpleasant. Scent can also be an approach to help the blind to distinguish different areas of the garden. As for the sound, you may use wind chimes or fountain decor for certain purposes like using them as landmarks. 


Materials. Choose vivid colors as much as possible so persons with poor vision can locate them easily. You may also opt to paint the items if there are no available vibrant colors. Buy garden items with handles that can be easily grabbed so they can be easily carried along without the gardener needing to exert effort.


Immersing with nature through gardening is possible for almost everybody, given the right environment, materials, and equipment. Through this garden concept, it encourages visually challenged gardeners to connect with nature through self-exploration and independence. 


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