Horticultural Therapy

This garden at a hospital features a gardening therapy program for patients in rehabilitation.
gardening therapy for patients in rehabilitation

gardening therapy for patients in rehabilitation

Being outside and working with plants is a fabulous way for people with physical or emotional challenges to learn new skills or regain lost skills.

Being outside and working with plants is a fabulous way for people with physical or emotional challenges to learn new skills or regain lost skills.

Horticultural Healing

More and more, health-care professionals are recognizing what gardeners have always instinctively known: gardening is good not only for the soul but also for the body.

Horticultural or garden therapy is widely recognized and is used in hospitals, rehab centers, prisons, nursing homes and schools across the country. One excellent source of information on horticultural therapy is the American Horticultural Therapy Association. If you're an able-bodied gardener with time and energy to give to your community, you may want to volunteer at a local horticultural therapy garden.

Adapting a Garden

gardening is adapted for folks with disabilities

gardening is adapted for folks with disabilities

For a person with a physical disability, a garden can often be adapted so that he or she can still garden with ease.

For a person with a physical disability, a garden can often be adapted so that he or she can still garden with ease.

Solid paths can be made to accommodate wheelchairs, and raised beds can make a vegetable garden a pleasure for chair-bound individuals. Raised beds that are about 30" to 36" tall are a good choice. Typically, beds that can be accessed from at least three sides can be about two arm-lengths deep and still be fully accessible. Raised beds that can be accessed from only one side should be shallower (about one arm-length deep) so the gardener can reach in and work the entire bed without stretching.

Raised Beds

raised beds are good for growing vegetables

raised beds are good for growing vegetables

Raised beds are great in other ways, too. They're good for growing vegetables because they provide good drainage; in addition, the soil tends to warm up faster in the spring, which plants love.

Senior Gardening

raised beds are good for many older gardeners

raised beds are good for many older gardeners

Raised beds are also a boon for many older gardeners.

Raised beds are also a boon for many older gardeners.

It's often difficult for older people to bend or stoop all the way to the ground. But raised beds eliminate that problem. Even raising beds as little as 18" or 20" in a home garden can make a difference in accessibility for an older person.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Raised Bed Gardens

A raised bed garden remains neat and tidy all season long with well-defined walking areas between the beds.

Easier Gardening for Seniors

Learn about the benefits of raised beds and vertical gardening, the proper way to kneel and to bend, and how to position your hand when pruning to avoid wrist stress.

How to Make a Tiered Planter Box

Cultivate your kids’ love of gardening with this DIY patio garden planter. No greenhouse? No problem! This planter is easy to build and is sure to take your meals to the next level.

Tips for a Raised-Bed Vegetable Garden

Raised-bed vegetable gardening takes very little space and allows vegetables to be grown closer together.

DIY a Raised Bed Using Building Blocks

Create a fun raised bed using building blocks to add a dose of color to your yard.

Tips for Planting a Raised Bed

Almost any plant will grow well in a raised bed. Follow these tips for keeping plants healthy.

Ready, Set, Grow! When to Start Your Garden

Does winter weather have you itching to dig in the dirt? Get tips on when you can safely start planting veggies for spring and summer.

5 Frequent Questions About Yard Prep for Growing Vegetables

Preparing the yard for a vegetable garden may take time, but it will pay off all season long.

Container Ideas for Transplants and Seedlings

Discover a variety of creative container ideas for transplants and seedlings.

Harvesting Rutabagas

With a long and flexible harvest period, rutabagas make for low stress in the home garden while providing delicious flavor.

Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Consult Our A-Z Guide

Everything You Need to Know

Browse a full list of topics found on the site, from accessories to mudrooms to wreaths.  

How-To Advice and Videos

Get video instructions about kitchens, bathrooms, remodeling, flooring, painting and more.

Watch DIY Downloads Now

Watch DIY Network LIVE

Don't miss your favorite shows in real time online.