Spring is finally here! It’s my first spring in my first home and I’ve been anxiously awaiting the time when I could finally get out in the sunshine and work in my very own yard! I knew it was going to be quite the job. Our home had not been lived in for two years prior to us moving in so it was quite overgrown, to say the least. We moved in late November, so there also wasn’t much time for us to clean up from the fall season.
I was so anxious to make our lawn look nice, that I was left with a sense of disappointment when I couldn’t exactly jump right in. As a wheelchair user, I’m not able to reach the ground, which seems fairly important for yard work. The largest job we have to do is raking. There are still those leaves from last fall and quite a bit of dead and unwanted vegetation. When I began, I started using a common leaf rake with a grip made of foam rubber tubing. This allowed me to hold the rake further down toward the tines with the rest of the rake over my shoulder, grabbing the leaves and driving my wheelchair backward toward the leaf pile. Truthfully, the rake was
extremely heavy to use one-handed and the whole process was exhausting and not that effective. I realized I needed to slow down and enjoy the process. I’ve been thinking about my abilities and the assistive technology that would work best for me. When I began researching on the web, I realized there are many options for adaptive lawn tools that I had never thought about and several websites dedicated to the subject. For example, there are lightweight rakes, telescoping rakes, rakes with interchangeable heads and tools, rake-scooper combination tools, and the Robo Handle, which attaches to handles to allow the use of tools with one hand. Even a YouTube video of a wheelchair user raking convinced me that perhaps I need to change my technique.
There is still much work to do beyond raking, however. Weeding is a never ending chore, which is why I was excited to find the No Bend Weeder. It is has a long T-shaped handle, and small “claws” that go into the ground (so it does require some arm strength to penetrate the ground). You then twist, pull up the weed, and press a button to shoot it into your lawn/leaf bag or barrel.
Raking and weeding left some obvious bare spots in the lawn. One of my favorite lawn duties is spreading grass seed and watering it. Seeding by hand led to piles of seeds in some spots and none in others. By using a simple flour/sugar container with a handle and small spout, I was able to spread the seed much easier and evenly. Watering without experiencing kinks is a problem for everyone. I’m looking to invest in a lightweight coil hose that might be easier to use. I’m finding that there are also many options for hanging hoses at any height.
I’m so excited to finally have a lawn and to discover that there are so many AT options to help me participate in creating my own beautiful space. We still have much work to do, but I am starting to see the beginnings of my outdoor sanctuary.