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The most important factors when choosing a good greenhouse as a wheelchair user are Access, Safety and Practicality. There are many greenhouses to choose from today, to the point where it can be utterly confusing when choosing a greenhouse.
However choosing the best greenhouse with wheelchair access your choices are narrowed down to some very high quality greenhouses with specific features and we’ll go into this right here in this article.
The first thing to consider is accessibility, how easily can you enter, exit and use the greenhouse whilst using a wheelchair?
Initially the minimum size of greenhouse you’ll need will be 8ft wide, 8ft across the apex gable ends of the greenhouse. This is because this width will allow double doors of sufficient width to enter and exit the greenhouse comfortably and safely.
Not all 8ft wide greenhouses with double doors will be suitable however. This is due to the fact that most greenhouses have a base plinth that's roughly between 3 and 5 inches in height that you have to get over to enter the greenhouse. Obviously this no good at all for a gardener using a wheelchair. Therefore you need to find a greenhouse with what's called a "low threshold base" or "ground level entry point". In other words there's no "step" to impede a smooth entry in a wheelchair.
Elite Greenhouses offer their 8ft wide Belmont and Titan with low threshold bases. Eden make their excellent Zero Threshold 8ft and 10ft wide greenhouses with a completely ground level entry which again, is perfect for wheelchair users.
Safety should always be a serious consideration when buying any greenhouse. It’s important to pick the right type of glazing for the area where the greenhouse is to be sited but also to ensure the optimum safety for those using it.
For this reason I’d advise totally discounting normal Horticultural greenhouse glass, it’s too delicate and dangerous if it breaks.
We should be looking for 3mm or 4mm toughened safety glass as this not only performs best when broken as it simply crumbles into little pebbles that will scratch you at worst, but also offers the best wind resistance.
In more sheltered areas where the greenhouse is less likely to be buffeted by high winds then 6mm twin wall polycarbonate may be used. It’s completely shatterproof and offers great insulation and heat retention.
Using the greenhouse once you’ve chosen the right model for you must be a pleasurable experience. If the greenhouse is uncomfortable or difficult to live with then you’ll soon go off greenhouse gardening ! Getting the right setup is essential.
Working from a wheelchair the work surfaces such as staging and shelving need to be easily accessible and comfortable to use. Our Elite models are available with Diamond Staging that is secured to the side of the greenhouse with cantilever bracing, so there are no vertical struts. This means you can get into position where the staging is right in front of you at a really comfortable working distance.
Roof vents and side louvre vents can both be fully automated very cheaply with the addition of automatic openers. The little cylinders are filled with wax that liquefies as it heats, opening your vents and as it cools and solidifies it closes them. No need to worry about reaching the roof or bending down to open louvres, it’s all done automatically.
At Greenhouse Stores we offer greenhouse installation on most brands we sell. For a specific quote on our wheelchair friendly Elite Greenhouses or Eden Greenhouses please call us on 0800 098 8877.