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In a city known for skyscrapers and tiny apartments, Diana Sanzone’s Brooklyn backyard is a rare treasure. But Diana couldn’t enjoy the muddy yard in her motorized wheelchair.

Her landscaper, Daniel S. Burnstein, wanted to create a natural-looking, affordable surface so that Diana could enjoy her yard once again. Gravel was his material of choice. But one thing had Daniel stumped: how could he ensure that the gravel surface was wheelchair accessible?

Daniel turned to Washington Rock Quarries for advice. With the help of industry experts, Washington Rock made a guide for creating a wheelchair-accessible gravel surface. Then we teamed up with Daniel and Vermont-based gravel supplier North East Materials Group to adapt those guidelines to Diana’s yard.

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Tucked away in the woods of Graham is a sprawling garden from the pages of a storybook. Swaths of flowers border a lawn that flows in different directions. Each garden bed is flush with hundreds of plants: fluffy peonies here, yellow clusters of ranunculus there, colonies of hosta winding like a forest stream. The colors and forms are endless.

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Daniel Burnstein of Brooklyn, New York had a unique dilemma: his client wanted to be able to use the backyard with a wheelchair. Concrete work and pavers can be expensive, and Daniel liked the rustic charm of gravel.

His question: Can gravel surfaces be wheelchair accessible? The answer is yes—if they meet certain standards.

Washington Rock, with the help of landscape architect Clayton Beaudoin, researched the topic and came up with guidelines for making gravel surfaces wheelchair accessible.

Our goal is to make these guidelines as easy as possible to follow, so we create a simple guide below. Then we included additional resources, such as a Glossary of Terms and Research Notes.

Check out the companion piece to this article, “Designing for Diana: How We Made Gravel Wheelchair-Accessible in Brooklyn,” to read about how we used our guidelines to help Daniel create a gravel-accessible backyard. The project is summarized in the video below.

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This article explores how The Hidden Farm uses ¼” minus Trail Mix Gravel to create cement-like paths and flooring for weddings and then easily transitions it into a horse arena footing in the winter. The sections “The Secret Ingredient: Trail Mix Gravel” and “Megan’s Gravel Recipe for Paddocks” contain specific information about how gravel products are used. Don’t forget to watch our video about The Hidden Farm located at the end of the article. We hope you enjoy the beautiful story of The Hidden Farm.

Just beyond the shorelines of Lake Tapps, The Hidden Farm sits on a hill surrounded by acres of pastureland. The valley below is dotted with grazing horses and cattle, and in the distance are the snow-frosted foothills of Mt. Rainier.

The viewpoint at the rim of the hill is bordered by a granite rockery. Behind the rockery stretches a smooth, green lawn, flanked on one side by horse stables and on the other side, a horse arena and a classic red barn.

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