cryoutlaughin asked:

I am taking on a landscaping project for a visually impaired individual. I want to create a space w/raised beds/terraces that bring the ground plane up to his field of view. As well, I want to provide visually striking plants that are easy for him to identify. He relies on aromas and touch. I want to add this to the concept. I envision an aromatic, tactile space of edible plants that provide contrasting yellow & blue blooms. A safe place for him to amble, touch, smell, and use his sight. Advice?

This sounds like a great project! I have archives on #disability, but as of yet don’t have a lot of information on gardening for people with visual impairments.

Your plan sounds great so far. Mostly, my advice has to do with safety.


  • Create wide, clear, even pathways
  • Consider infrastructure like railings, to provide a tactile pathway
  • Avoid elements that attract rodents (like hügelkultur), because if droppings are not seen soon enough to be avoided, there is a risk of hantavirus
  • Avoid leaving dry patches of soil (try to cover all soil with plants or mulch), so that cats don’t leave droppings: this reduces the risk of inhaled toxoplasmosis


  • Don’t use plants like Digitalis, where touching them too much can cause cardiovascular problems: research the chemical interactions of plants you have in mind.
  • Don’t plant anything with thorns.
  • Avoid tall grasses where creatures like ticks can live (these are hard to see or feel for a visually impaired person, and carry Lyme disease)


  • Remind the client to get a tetanus booster if needed

(Sorry about the disease-heavy advice: I took too many public health courses).

The only other thing I can think of is using sound to create a sense of location or directionality: maybe something like wind chimes or bells, or a flowing water feature?

Also, features like bird baths, bird feeders, and bird houses attract songbirds, which add to the aural ambiance: sound is a dimension of the garden experience a lot of us sighted people don’t fully appreciate (I appreciate it even less because I am hard of hearing on one side).

If any followers want to add suggestions, please do!


Plant of the Day
Saturday 25 April 2015

Against the fresh greens of spring in this mixed border a flash of colour is provided by Tulipa ‘Irene Parrot’ (parrot tulip) having orange flowers tinged with a reddish-purple flame and ruffled edges. This container of autumn planted bulbs becomes the focal point of this border for a few weeks in the spring and then will be changed for a summer display.

Jill Raggett


Vincent van Gogh’s butterflies,clumps of grass and little flowers …

Two White Butterflies, 1889 Van Gogh museum, Amsterdam

Long Grass with Butterflies  1890  The National Gallery, London

Clumps of Grass ,1999  Pola Museum of Art, Japan

Grass and butterflies 1887  Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Tree trunks in the grass  1890  Kröller-Müller Museum. Otterlo

A Field of Yellow Flowers, 1889 Kunstmuseum, Winterthur, Switzerland