Award-winning garden designer and retirement specialist team up to provide their top tips for an accessible garden

Award-winning garden designer Tracy Foster and Just Retirement Limited, a leading specialist in retirement products and services, have teamed up to create A Garden for Every Retiree at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, a Silver-gilt medal show garden that demonstrates how enjoyable and accessible gardening can be, both before and in retirement.

Key features to enhance the accessibility of the garden include raised beds and a wider path, allowing wheelchair and mobility scooter users direct access onto the show garden.  Here, Foster and Just Retirement share their top tips for creating an accessible garden in your own home:

  • For those with poor eyesight, flowers, fencing and furniture in the colours of blue, white and yellow can work best, while berries, bark and foliage add natural colour throughout the seasons, and the use of evergreens provide all-year-round structure to your space.
  • Encouraging nature into your garden will provide a natural chorus of sounds to neutralise urban noise if you are spending more time at home.
  • Raised beds can be enjoyed without having to stoop and can be designed to incorporate additional seating.
  • While gravel may be a cheap paving option, paving is much better for wheelchairs (as well as wheelie bins, children’s toys and pushchairs).  Paving with strongly contrasted colours can help make the garden safer for people with partial sight.
  • If you struggle to get outside all the time, think about placing some beautiful features near the back door so that you can see them all year round.

Bella D’Arcy Reed, creator of, a website giving accessibility reports on gardens open to the public, visited the Just Retirement garden on her mobility scooter. She said: “What I like about A Garden for Every Retiree is that, while small, it has space for people-on-wheels to turn round and sit with friends.  I love the raised beds with walls you can sit on to tend the plants, and they were just the right height for the wheelchair.  The veggie beds were raised too, and could be extended.  There were lots of ideas for retirees with mobility problems who would be happy here.”

Stephen Lowe, Group Communications Director at Just Retirement adds: “Gardens have the potential to be so many things: a place to indulge your hobbies and interests; a welcoming haven for wildlife; somewhere to relax and enjoy peace and quiet; or somewhere to spend time with your loved ones.  I hope our show garden A Garden for Every Retiree and these simple tips inspire people to get gardening, no matter their ability or experience.”

To find out more visit the Just Retirement garden – A Garden for Every Retiree at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, until 5 July (stand IN 612), where you can also purchase a copy of ‘The Just Retirement Book of Gardening’.  Written by Foster, and including some words by D’Arcy Reed, it’s packed full of more helpful hints and creative ideas.  For every book sold, Just Retirement will donate £1 to The Conservation Volunteers – The Community Volunteering Charity.