Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Creating An Accessible Raised Garden

Raised bed with braille labelsI have always wanted to make my son an accessible garden that my son could learn to take care of independently.  I was hoping a garden could be something he could learn to enjoy and learn from.  
Earlier this year I applied for the Family First Braille Grant for an accessible raised garden for my son Liam.  Liam is 7 years old, deafblind and loves anything and everything braille.  I was extremely happy and excited to find out that Family First Grant accepted our grant proposal!  Here is what I was able to create for my Liam thanks to that grant:


1. Raised Garden Bed:

I ordered mine from Amazon and it was extremely easy to put together.  If money is an issue, there are plans you can find online to create raised garden beds to your specifications for a cheaper price. 
Raised bed with braille labelsPlants with braille labels
I wanted a garden for Liam that was at his level if he was standing up -- a garden that he would not have to bend over to tend to.  I wanted a garden that could be put on flat ground and something that he was able to walk around easily to get to the other side. Ths planter had all of the qualities I was looking for. 
Accessible raised bedFeeling plants growing

2.  Water Sprayer attachment:

I bought a sprayer to attach to the hose (very inexpensive -- around $4.00!) It has a great "mist" setting for Liam to water his plants with ease.  I also bought a nice new hose that won't kink and was easier to hang up when not in use.  
Boy watering plants with hoseBoy watering garden with hose

3.  BRAILLE!!!

An accessible garden wouldn't be complete without braille!  I added durable braille labels to the outside of the box that will be permanent labels for the box.   Thank you Awards USA again for making beautiful labels
A boy reads a braille signReading braille labels
The labels read:  "Liam and Finn's garden", "vegetable" and "fruits"  
Braille label of vegetable
I also created wood "markers" to place in the soil near the plants so that Liam can identify the plants.  I placed braille labels onto the wood markers.  Liam likes to take the markers out, read them, and place them back in the soil again. These labels can be changed from year to year depending on the plants we place in the garden.  
Braille garden labels

4. Dividers

I used popsicle sticks to create a small "fences" around the groups of plants.  

5. Plants:

I chose all edible plants this year.  We planted peppers, strawberries, huckleberries, kale and broccoli.   I have a little money left over from the grant, so I am planning to buy some fun plants that smell pretty and have great texture for Liam to feel.  I was thinking of lavender for sure!  
Liam has enjoyed helping plant our new garden (except for the fact that his hands got really dirty-he didn't love that part.  We had to keep spraying his hands with the hose in between plants lol).  He likes to turn the water hose on by himself and water the plants in the morning.  We get to have nice discussions about the plants, their labels, and the different features of each of the plants!  
Thanks again Family First Grant for supporting families like mine!  
Pinterest collage of accessible raised garden


Sensory Garden

Posted by Susan Vollmar

Posted on May 16, 2018
Updated on: May 16, 2018

Previous comments for Creating An Accessible Raised Garden

Liamsmom commented on July 21, 2016

I love the idea of using tin from an oven liner-never thought of that.  I like the idea of adding touched, tasted or smelled or a mix!  I will have to try that with my son next summer- I think he would enjoy that!  Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas on accessible gardens!  

Susan Vollmar commented on July 19, 2016

I created two sensory gardens this spring. The first was a raised bed garden for a boy who is blind. I brailled on tin from an oven liner, with a Perkins Brailler. I glued the labels to the boards of the garden with drywall glue. Print labels were added with a labeler. I added braille signs to indicate if the plant should be touched, touched and smelled or touched smelled and tasted. I used hens and chickens, lambs ears; lavender, rosemary, scented geranium; mint, parsley and chives.
I created a second sensory garden for adults who are medically fragile. I hung pots of plants from a fence that they can access from their wheelchairs. I used lavender, rosemary, lambs ears and mint.