Taking a bit of time to get ready can really make a difference. Some of the stresses and strains of gardening happen when we begin a job on impulse, without any planning.
Top tips for getting ready
Think about the job you’re going to do and plan what will make it easier for you. It might be as simple as making sure you have a kneeler or a stool or seat to work from.
- Get all the tools you’ll need together to save trips back and forth to the shed or garage. Try and keep your storage area tidy and you’ll be able to find your tools more easily.
- When sitting at a table, place the items you need in easy reach and avoid over stretching.
Make sure that the table is at the right height for you to work comfortably sitting down - a table with a shaped recess can be more comfortable to work from.
- Choose a seat to work from that is comfortable to use, and stable. Some garden kneelers can be used as a seat when turned upside down but make sure you place it on even ground.
- Rather than move a seat around everywhere, try to have permanent seating around the garden to work from as well.
- If you can, re-think your garden layout to make it easier to work sitting down. Raised beds, containers, easy-reach trained fruit trees and replacing the lawn with hard surfacing are all ideas that can help. Find out more about raised beds
Make time to 'warm up' first with some simple bending and stretching exercises to loosen up your muscles and you will be less likely to strain yourself. On very cold days, it might be worth waiting until the air warms up before you begin or start work in areas of the garden that are sunny.
- Stick to one job at a time, and have breaks - with a warm or cold drink according to the weather. Stop work before you get too tired.
- You might find it easier to move your equipment around the garden in relay fashion, taking your chair out first, then your tools.
- If you find it difficult to carry things, you might need to base your activities near the house or the place you keep your gardening equipment.
Equipment and tools
Make sure you choose the right tools for the job. Try out tools before you buy them and check for weight and comfort. Chose well balanced and lightweight tools to help prevent stresses and strains in your hands and arms.
Hand tools will be easier to hold if you slide some plumber’s insulating tubing over the handle, or there are specialist ranges with wide spongy grips.
- To avoid over-reach from your chair, choose tools with longer handles. Multi-change tools give you a choice of handle lengths for working at different heights and you simple change the tool head for different jobs.
- Find the best way for you to carry your tools. You could use a garden cart, wheelbarrow, tool carrier, bucket, or a tray or basket attachment if you use a wheelchair.
- A garden cart with an aluminium frame allows you to carry long tools and hand tools with smaller items in its tray. It also holds a refuse sack. If you have balance problems, this could give you some support as you walk.
- You may find a twin wheeled barrow with bar style handle easier to manage than a convent