If you love to garden but you keep getting back pain this is a bad time of year for you with all the leaves on the ground and then you have to tidy up after the gales and deal with the plants for overwintering.
Think about our simple tips to help you make the make the most of your garden.
- Avoid leaving bare patches of soil. They encourage weeds to grow. the surface of the soil using chipped bark or well-rotted manure. This helps to retain the soil’s moisture, saving on watering.
- Reduce the need to bend down by raising flowerbeds from the ground. Grow trailing plants over the side to hide or soften their edges.
- Keep flowerbeds narrow so you don’t have to stretch over plants.
- If you have a small garden, avoid having a lawn. It will need mowing once or twice a week during summer.
- Blow the dead leaves into a corner then lift using two pieces of cardboard and put leaves into large open sacks. Practice squatting with your back braced every time you go down for the leaves. Rest regularly though. You can lie down for a minute with your knees bent and breath through your abdomen … this relieves pressure on your muscles and discs.
- Use tools with long handles, such as forks and trowels. Some tools have extensions or telescopic arms which reduce your need to stretch.
- Raking and sweeping can be done safely if you move from your hips and don’t keep twisting your back.
- Use pruners and loppers that have a ratchet system. This makes cutting easier and saves putting pressure on the back and shoulders. Keep the blades sharp to avoid extra strain.
- Put secateurs in a holster attached to your belt. This saves having to constantly bend down to pick them up.
- Use hoses on reels or an automated irrigation system in your garden. Don’t use heavy watering cans. If you do have one, only fill it halfway.
- Stop regularly and do a different job that uses your back in a different way.
- Plant slow-growing shrubs. They’re easier to maintain than annuals and herbaceous perennials.
- Grow some plants in containers because they are easier to reach. Even vegetables such as courgettes, potatoes and lettuce will grow successfully in pots.
- When moving containers, use a trolley or wheelbarrow.
- Kneel as often as you can and brace your abdomen gently – bend from the hips not the back!
- If you are a fan of fruit, choose fruit trees grown on dwarf rootstocks so you can pick the fruit at a comfortable height. Or train fruit trees against a wall or as stepovers.