I’ve always disapproved of artificial grass, feeling it’s just another form of paving. This isn’t good for the environment, not least because of the problems of coping with unusual rainfall events in urban areas. However, ‘never say never’! I’ve found a use for artificial grass that is totally justifiable.
Recently I had a lengthy discussion with a chap who was struggling with maintaining his garden due to having become reliant upon a wheelchair. It was at the stage that he was seriously considering downsizing to a property with just a patio area, although he was greatly missing being able to grow his own vegetables and “getting his hands in the dirt” as he once loved. Everyone should be able to get outside and enjoy their garden regardless of age and and physical abilities and we thankfully found a solution that worked for him.
With some good planning and the assistance of his adult children a little oasis was created for him making use of artificial grass, raised beds, ramps, and handrails. Now, I’ve never been one to look into artificial grass before, but the garden he had was reasonably large and would have not worked being completely paved over; he was also clear that he enjoyed looking out at his lawn, even though he was no longer able to maintain it himself.
In the past artificial grass looked just that – green and plastic like a lego scene. However, the improvements that have been made in the last ten years make it difficult to even realise that the grass is “fake” – artificial grass nowadays offers a realistic and affordable option for the garden. It also remains dry all year round, so no mud and slipping issues for those more unsteady on their feet and no sinking into the grass for those in a wheelchair. It is very low maintenance also meaning that elderly or disabled people are able to remain independent in their own homes and gardens, something that is incredibly important to all of us.
In addition to the artificial grass replacing the lawn the wish to continue growing his own vegetables needed to be tackled. Obviously the easiest way to do this was to bring the growing space up to seated height with the use of raised beds. These needed to also not be too wide so as to be able to reach all of the raised bed from a seated position. A 2ftx2ft wide raised bed set at 60cm height, such as these by Harrod Horticulture, were perfect for the job. With ramps and paving between each bed a total of 6 raised beds were installed.
Vegetable Growing in Small Spaces
Having previously had the whole of his garden and a local allotment to grow in, the smaller space growing took a little adjustment for the gentleman, but armed with a copy of my Vegetable, Fruit, and Herb Growing in Small Spaces he’s off to a flying start. Having a small garden, or even just a patio, doesn’t stop you growing your own. When living on the Isle of Man we had an entirely paved and tiered garden area. This is where I learnt just how much can be grown in pots, bags, and raised planters alone. There are also a number of articles on the site to help you with small space gardening, such as this one on Container Growing
As you can see, with the will there is almost always a way to keep a garden flourishing, whatever your age or abilities. It just takes a little planning and thinking outside the box to get there.