Hands of a white elderly person, with rings on each hand, planting a little green seedling into the earth, doing some blind gardening

Life hacks: gardening without sight

If you have space in which to grow plants or fresh produce it can bring much pleasure. During London Vision’s ‘Life hacks: everyday living’ session we often discuss ways to continue gardening when you are blind or partially sighted. Below you will find some of the tips and tricks group members have brought to the discussion, followed by a series of links to useful websites and videos.

Watching or listening to videos can be extremely informative; there are many on YouTube hosted by blind gardeners and many more which explore how to grow and care for plants and produce.

In preparing to write this article I searched ‘gardening without sight’ and  ‘gardening when you are blind or partially sighted’; both with great success. However, the go to organisation for information about gardening while blind or with sight loss is Thrive.

Your top tips from our Managing Sight Loss sessions

Keeping safe

Before you start any task in the garden take, a moment to think about your safety:

Orientating yourself in the garden

Depending on the size of garden, level of vision and other factors, it is possible to become lost or disorientated in your back garden. People have told us they have become lost after hanging their washing out; others whilst hosting garden parties. A few things you can try to keep you orientated:

Avoiding glare

Keep a sun hat on hand for using in garden. You told us in the groups the darker the brim the more reduced the glare. Overspecs can also be used to filter unwanted light.

Organisation and planning

However big or small your gardening task, pause before you begin. Plan your task. Gather the tools you need. Break the task into manageable logical chunks. Don’t forget to read the instructions. Be My Eyes app could help here as could an app like Seeing AI or Envision.

A brightly coloured bucket is useful to carry smaller tools, gloves and other equipment around the garden. Tools with colour contrasting handle can be purchased widely, however, beware colours quickly fade if tools are left in the sunlight. Wilko, Homebase, or B&Q are good places to look. You can alternatively use florescent tape to highlight handles.

Designing your garden to meet your needs

Pots and containers can bring many advantages as can raised beds as these are simpler to control and manage. There many garden design apps and videos but you might want to consider:

Take a look at Thrive’s design information

Weeding

Here’s your top tips:

Mowing the lawn

Take  a look at Blindspot top tips for mowing the lawn

Here is what you told us about lawn care in the Managing Sight Loss sessions:

Power tools

Most modern power tools such as hedge trimmers are designed to be operated two handed as a safety feature; this means you can’t readily use a free hand to determine where to cut. Single hand shears might alleviate this difficulty. With electric tools keep the cable behind you or over your shoulder to prevent accidental cutting. Creating fluorescent bandings on the cable may allow it to be seen a little easier.

Useful links and sources of advice

Videos

Get in touch and tell us how you got on with gardening!

The team at London Vision would like to hear how you get on in your garden so why not get in touch and share your tips and tricks with the team! info@londonvision.org