Building A Ramp In Your Garden – Ramps make a gentle transition from one level to another, smoothing the path for everything from wheelbarrows to, most especially, wheelchairs. Where the slope is not great, a ramp is a practical alternative to steps, allowing easier access for people with limited mobility. If you have a family member or friend who relies on a wheelchair, you will need a ramp to approach at least one of your home’s entrances and possibly to reach the garden.
You can use a variety of materials for a ramp, including concrete, wood or even earth topped with fine gravel. Do, however, make sure that the surface is non-skid. Textured rubber toppings, such as skid-resistant polymer, and textured concrete work well.
Safety and ease of use are the prime considerations for any ramp in your garden. Appearance, though, also play a part in its design. Slope a wheelchair ramp at no more than 1 in 12. This can result in very long ramp, but a gentle incline is essential for those who will need it the most. Even if the ramp in your garden will not be used by anyone in a wheelchair, give it no more than a 1-in-8 slope.
For wheelchair use, include handrails on both sides of the ramp and make the ramp wide enough so that the distance between the handrails is at least 900 mm. Landings should be placed at the top and bottom. Any incline longer than about 7 m needs an extra landing where a wheelchair user can rest and manoeuvre the chair. Whether your project calls for an U-shaped, L-shaped or simple straight ramp, all landings must be as long as the path is wide, but not less than 900 mm long. Where doors open outwards, the landing must be at least 1,5 x 2,0 m in order to allow the wheelchair user to move back safely and comfortably.
It you are building a ramp that will be used by people in wheelchairs, fit handrails to both sides so that they can pull themselves up. The handrails should be about 865 mm high and have a grip width of about 38 mm. On flights of steps, install a handrail on at least one side. It should be at least 865 mm high.
To attach wooden railings to a wooden ramp, follow the instructions for fitting railings to a raised deck and be sure to fix the balusters securely to the ramp’s structure, not its surface. Similarly, for wooden steps, it is important to attach the railing to the structure, not the treads.
To fix a metal railing to a concrete ramp, first drill holes into the ramp’s surface. Install the brackets with expanding bolts. Slip the vertical balusters into their brackets, and tighten the set screws. Install the rails and assemble the intermediate balusters.
If you are installing handrails on concrete steps, attach the rail brackets to the treads.