Garden Tools For Wheelchair Users

Tested and Reviewed by Fred-in-the-shed

Updated 8th August 2022

On This Page

Tips for Gardening from a Wheelchair

Long Reach Cordless Grass Trimmers

Long Handled Pruners

Lightweight Digging Tools

Raised Beds

Lightweight Long Reach Grabbers


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Tips For Wheelchair Gardeners

Before starting Fredshed I worked for 6 years as a horticultural therapist, helping elderly and disabled people at The Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in Oxford, England. The Nuffield is one of the worlds leading Orthopaedic hospitals and is famous for pioneering surgery. As part of my work I helped teach on a course for people with serious back problems.

My job involved researching tools and techniques to help people use gardening as a form of “rehabilatative therapy” often after surgery. During this time I produced 2 books and obtained and tested hundreds of tools from around the world. Many of these I then had adapted to suit specific persons needs.

Working as a Horticultural Therapist at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in Oxford

On this page I will outline some important principles for working with tools in the home and garden and feature a few special tools that are particularly good if you garden from a wheelchair.

After 16 years of gardening on my feet I suddenly found myself in a wheelchair wondering how I was going to manage my hobby and passion.  Firstly I fashioned some tools then set about re-designing my garden. 35 years on  -  gardening is my career and rarely a day goes by when I'm not involved in plants or tools.

My early attempts at tool and garden design caught the interest of the medical/rehab community and soon I was gainfully employed researching equipment and techniques, and assisting clients as a horticultural therapist.

With the help of the engineers at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Hospital in Oxford I was able to modify or design equipment that began to influence manufacturers wanting better products for an aging and affluent population of gardeners.

After leaving my NHS job I became self-employed and now mostly work helping able-bodied gardeners find tools and equipment and help manufacturers market better quality, easier to use products.


The most common advice given to gardeners in wheelchairs is to build raised beds and bring the plants up to your level. Whilst this seems like a good idea it is not always the best solution and probably based on someone not thinking things through properly.

With a few tools and techniques it is very practical for most wheelchair users to garden "normally" with plants at ground level. There are several  problems with raised bedding. Firstly - cost and construction, it can be expensive and look hideous.

Secondly  -access is mostly from the side which makes working difficult. If you make space underneath for access the the soil depth is reduced and plants dry out or fall over. Finally if you plant a small seedling in a raised bed it will be at your level, however as it grows it may well disappear from reach and unlike Jack and the beanstalk you wont be climbing up to see the fruits. (unless you're that Andy guy from Little Britain)

I am not totally against raised bedding and have areas of it myself. It has it's uses but I don't like to see a garden  dominated by it.

If you can design some narrower easily accessible borders at ground level a few carefully selected tools is probably all you need.

My favourite tools are long reach pruners, lightweight push pull hoes, small rakes, forks and trowels, (especially with telescopic handles for easier transportation) and battery powered grass and shrub trimmers. None of the tools I use are special tools for disabled people, all of them are "mainstream" products and widely available. If you are a quadriplegic or have limited upper body strength then there are a few specialist tools that may help or you could adapt existing tools with extra handles.

The main area where a wheelchair user will need to develop a special technique is in soil preparation and planting.

Digging large areas of soil with a large fork or spade is not an option unless you want to become more disabled. If you have good soil a regular hoeing should be enough or there is a tool called a soil miller that works like a push-pull plough. A bulb planter or long handled trowel can be used to dig a planting hole and the plants can be dropped in by hand, on a trowel or by a grabber depending on its size. I then use the T handle of my trowel to firm down the soil.

Mowing a lawn can now be done with robotic mowers which start at 600 and are really effective. I have used one for over 5 years and before that had a hover mower attached to the front of an electric wheelchair.

Probably the most important thing for any gardener but more so for a disabled gardener is choosing plants that you can manage. If you plant a lot of Buddleias (butterfly bush) you will end up doing a lot of pruning, clearing of leaves and disposing of rubbish, every year! If you grow a dwarf Hebe you will get similar flowers, butterflies and no-where near as much work.

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Garden Tools Suitable for Wheelchair Users


Battery Powered Grass Shears

Electric shears are easier to handle for a wheelchair gardener than a strimmer.

Using conventional lawn edging shears is difficult from a wheelchair and the one handed versions are slow and tiring to use.

My tool of choice for trimming grass are these battery powered electric shears.

The model shown above has been discontinued but Bosch have a similar model, see below.

The Bosch ISIO is similar to the Award winning Wolf trimmer but it is smaller, lighter and cheaper.

2 Tools in 1


Grass and shrub trimming!

The Bosch ISIO can be converted from a grass shear to a small shrub trimmer in seconds and is surprisingly efficient.

 Running time is very good thanks to the Li-ion batteries and I get 20 minutes use which included some woody shrub material. The softer the material you cut the longer the battery will last between re-charges.

The Bosch ISIO has been around for about 10 years now and is very reliable but does have a built in battery so when that goes the whole thing is landfill.

The long handle is an optional extra so the whole kit is about 100.

Bosch Isio Cordless Shrub/ Grass Shear

Bosch Telescopic Handle For Isio


Breaking News - Fredshed tests an alternative to the Isio

This bargain trimmer (orange & black) has all the features of the Isio but has a more powerful 7.2v battery 

The blade is also wider than the Isio and the switch more comfortable. It comes with the extension handle and shrub cutting blade.

The Teratek trimmer has a 7.2v battery whilst Bosch only has 3.6v. This makes quite a difference in the time the trimmer will run and type of material it will trim. The cost compared to the Bosch Isio is roughly half the price. The Von Haus model has been discontinued but a similar tool is available under the Terratek brand. 

 For the money it looks excellent and in my initial tests is more effective and comfortable to use than the more expensive Bosch Isio.

Terratek 2 IN 1 7.2V Telescopic Cordless Grass/Hedge Trimmer Built in Lithium Ion Battery 


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Long Handled Cut and Hold Pruner



Darlac DP110 Cut-n-Hold Snapper - 1000mm

ARS Long Reach Cut and Hold Pruner - 600mm  

This long handled cut and hold pruner is one of my favorite tools and one that I have used for over 20 years. That's why it won the first ever Golden Shed Award.

It comes in different sizes from the 650mm version to a telescopic one that extends to 3m!

This tool is ideal for light pruning up to 16mm thick, and for deadheading roses etc. Whilst working as an NHS horticultural therapist I recommended this tool to hundreds of patients using wheelchairs. I received many letters of thanks and never had a tool returned faulty.

The shorter 600 mm version is made by ARS. The best version is longer at 1m and is superb for reaching climbing roses or into the back of deep prickly borders.

The "snapper" can be used one or two handed and has a lot of handle adjustment. It is also very well made and I am still using one that I have had for nearly 20 years.


Pruning Thicker Branches from your wheelchair.

Assuming that you have good balance and some upper body strength it is possible to cut quite large branches (2 inches thick) up to a height of about 6ft.

I use the Fiskars universal cutter shown below because it is lightweight and has a geared mechanism to give more cutting power. Also the cord is hidden in the shaft so it does not get caught up in the tree or in your wheels.

Fiskars Universal Anvil Cutter


This is me using the heavier duty Fiskars Universal Cutter.


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Long Handled Fork and Spade

A good alternative to the tool above are these mid length stainless steel tools with T handles.

Cheaper carbon steel versions are available too.

The fork and spade heads are not as strong as full size tools but if you treat them sensibly they will last and are great tools for wheelchair users and indeed anyone who can't manage the larger size border forks and spades.

These are great tools for light digging,

DO NOT use them to lever roots or prise heavy plants up as they may bend!


Draper Stainless Steel Long T-Handled Fork with Ash Handle

Draper Extra Long Carbon Hand "T" Trowel


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Raised Beds and Planters for Wheelchair Gardeners

The sloping sides of this planter allow easy access for wheelchair users.

You may also notice that I use my old recycling bins to grow potatoes in.

If the sidewalls of any raised planters are narrow enough then they can be of good use to people gardening from a wheelchair.

Many so called "raised beds" built for disabled people are hard to work for wheelchair users if the walls are thick. As most access will be sideways on then thick walls mean the wheelchair user (unless they have arms like Gibbons) will only be able to reach a small way into the planter.

Metal sided raised beds for easier wheelchair access

Raised bedding has a number of other advantages apart from the access issue and kits are now available to enable you to easily create the bed you want in a variety of sizes and heights.

I have tried many systems over the years including wooden slot together systems and some of the more modern plastic ones.

Click the link below to see the largest range from one of my retailing partners.

Manger style wooden raised planters

Click here to see other raised bed systems

In my own garden I use the wooden trough shown above to grow vegetables as the sloping sides allow me easy access from my wheelchair.



This well made plastic planter is ideal for slug free growing as it is available with a ventilated propagator cover.

This will protect your seedlings from the cold as well and can be taken off when your plants are larger.

My planter has lasted 4 years and is also available in green.



Elho XX-Large Green Basics Grow Table - Living Black


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Helping Hand Pick Up tools

Grabbers and reachers tested by Fred-in-the-shed



I have a large collection of grabbers that I use at home, in my garden and workshop.

I keep one in every room so I am not tempted to bend down and strain my back.

Grab sticks are useful in the garden, my personal favourite for the garden is from Gardena as it can even pull out weeds and has a extendable spike to collect litter too.

For home use I like the one with the yellow handle which is shaped to hold round objects as well as square and small things. My one is labelled "Pik stik" but is no longer available. The helping hand one on the link below is the same but an even longer model which is even better.


The Helping Hand Company New Handi-Grip Pro Reacher (32")

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Best Portable Wheelchair Ramp

Do you have steps in your garden? Need better access to your shed?

Aidapt Aluminium Suitcase Ramp

This is me on my portable ramp

Visit friends who have steps to their house?

Make your garden more wheelchair accessible



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Cordless Leaf blowers

Makita 18v Cordless Sweeper tested by Fred

Some years back I tested the Black & Decker 18v cordless leaf blower and was very disappointed. Whilst the idea was good the product was a bit ahead of its time and let down by an poor NiCad battery.

Luckily technology has moved on and Makita of Japan have just launched this amazingly small but powerful leaf blower using its latest 18v Lithium-ion battery with its unbeatable 3 amp hour capacity.

Initial tests show a run time of about 20 minutes compared to about 5 from the old B&D GW180.

This vast improvement in performance comes at a price. The Makita blower costs around 50 but this does not include a battery or charger. The Makita BUB182Z blower forms part of a range of over 20 18v professional quality power tools and Makita assume this will be purchased by customers who already have the battery and charger from their drills, saws, and grinders etc.

If you are a gardener and want the best cordless powertools then there is the 18v cordless chainsaw that runs from the same battery too.

The Bosch ALB 18v blower is more effective at blowing due to the upturned nozzle end.

Bosch ALB 18 LI Cordless Leaf Blower with 18 V 2.5 Ah Lithium-Ion Battery


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Hedge Trimming From A Wheelchair

Cutting Hedges from a wheelchair is possible and in fact effective if you have strong arms and a lightweight hedge trimmer.

I have used the Gtech HT05 with a rechargeable 14v Li-ion battery built into the handle.

Sadly this excellent tool has been discontinued and there is nothing similar available now.

The next best thing is probably the little Bosch Isio with its shrubber blade fitted.

Bosch also make a slightly more powerful ASB mini hedge trimmer that is designed for one handed use.



The Bosch ASB 10.8v shrub trimmer is more expensive but does have a longer blade.


Bosch ASB 10.8 20cm LI Shrub Shear Blade

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Lightweight and Easy to use Garden Shredder

The Bosch rapid shredders are light and easy to use. I can actually move one from my garage to patio with one had whilst moving my wheelchair with the other.

Ok I have pretty good upper body strength but there are not many machines I could do this with as they are either too heavy or badly balanced.


Winner of the  Golden Shed Award


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Mowing a Lawn from a Wheelchair

A petrol Flymo pushed by an electric wheelchair was how I cut my lawn for a while

now I use a robotic mower!


click here for my page on robotic lawn mowers

click here for my page on lightweight wheelchairs


Wheelbarrows for Wheelchair users

Driving the electric garden cart was fun and attracted a lot of attention.

This Twin wheel barrow is more realistic and does not cost 1500.


VonHaus 78L Wheelbarrow Two Wheeled Pneumatic Tyre

Garden Gear Two Wheeled Wheelbarrow

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Ground Reinforcing Material

There are several systems of plastic tiles to create a strong stable surface on lawns or areas of soil.


Widening  Driveway?

Making a Path for Wheelchairs

Plastic Ground reinforcing grids

As a gardener and wheelchair user of 30 years I have had to make many paths on many different substrates.

I have used many different plastic paths and honeycomb type grids and have finally found an affordable one that

It is easy to lay and is very strong. It is also made in Britain and available online in large and small amounts.

Use the links below for more info or e-mail me if you want help making a path for wheelchair users.


20 x Black Plastic Paving Grid Mats (5 Square Meter)

40 x Black Plastic Paving  Grid  Mats (10 Square Meter)

Shown above are 2 of the products I have used in the past.

The black one is called Perfo, which is very strong but very expensive. It is great for putting down on grass.

The green one is weaker but cheaper and designed for light use such as wheelchairs and wheelbarrows. It is ideal for temporary applications as it can be taken up and moved very easily.

If you would like this more domestic type of plastic garden path at a reasonable price click the link below.

Buy a low price plastic garden path

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If you found my advice helpful you can support my work by returning to this page and using my links when purchasing your secateurs. Also any products bought from Amazon using the links below will produce a small commission that helps cover my hosting costs. thanks, Fred


If you found my site helpful and would like to make a small donation please use the link below. Thank you. Fred


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