Chicago Botanic Garden

Explore the Garden

Buehler Enabling Garden

Unique garden features that encourage gardening for people of all ages and abilities


The Buehler Enabling Garden encourages gardening for people of all ages and abilities. This beautiful 11,000-square-foot garden demonstrates the latest strategies, including raised beds, vertical gardens, and hanging baskets, for easy lifelong gardening. Many of these same ideas can be adapted in home gardens to create enabling gardens for a lifetime of easy, enjoyable gardening. The Buehler Enabling Garden is a garden serving people of all abilities and a major learning center for horticultural therapy programs.

PHOTO: raised beds

Raised beds
Raised garden beds show that by elevating the soil level, gardeners can care for a garden more easily with very little bending, stooping, or reaching.

PHOTO: hanging baskets

Hanging Baskets
Baskets in this garden can be lowered to a gardener's working height, then raised for display.

PHOTO: vertical wall gardening

Vertical Wall Gardens
These special wood frames within easy reach on garden walls make a striking display when filled with colorful annuals or vegetables.

PHOTO: raised beds

Shallow Pans
Shallow beds built above the ground allow legroom for gardeners who sit while tending plants.

PHOTO: water features

raised Water Features
Raised water gardens bring plants within easy reach. For sensory enjoyment, the garden also has several fountains and uniquely designed water walls, which create 5-foot-wide sheets of water.

PHOTO: paving accessibility

Paving for Accessibility
A level grade, firm surface, good drainage, and color contrasts for visual discrimination contribute to improved mobility in the garden.

PHOTO: tactile beds

Tactile Beds
Plants of many textures are featured. A metal grid running across this garden bed provides a planting guide for people who garden by touch.

PHOTO: sensational plants

Sensational Plants
The 3,100 plants in the Enabling Garden were chosen largely for their beauty and appeal to multiple senses. Discover plants with bright colors, pleasant fragrances, and interesting textures.

PHOTO: scenic overlook

Scenic Overlook
An elegant gallery garden provides a spectacular view across the lake.

Teaching Pavilion
Located at the north end of the Enabling Garden, a canvas-covered outdoor classroom is the staging area for horticultural therapy workshops and classes.

PHOTO: discovery cart

Discovery Carts
Visitors are encouraged to use all their senses to experience plants and to sample tools that ease the practice of gardening. Trained volunteers can answer questions.

PHOTO: tool shed

Tool Shed
The Tool Shed information center offers resources and tools that help you try easy-does-it gardening techniques at home.