Could Garden Kneelers be better? - Knowledgebase Question

Avatar for Dylan1234
Question by Dylan1234
September 12, 2017

I am a student, currently thinking of designing a product that will help gardening for the elderly. I found that garden kneelers were quite popular. Does anyone use a garden kneeler currently? Do you think any improvements could be made? Do you ever get tired whilst using the kneeler, as I understand that it can be strenuous to support yourself in an upright position? Is it easy to get up/ sit down using them? If you were to get one, what would it need to be, Eg. would you want it to be collapsible for easy storage? would you want a seat attached? would you want any storage compartments and what for?

Thank you for the help,


Name: Frank Mosher
Nova Scotia, Canada (Zone 6a)
A comment from fwmosher
December 9, 2017
Dylan, there are several available already, quite inexpensive. Thick green kneeling pad (about 3 inches off the ground) with two aluminium sides, allowing one to easily get up. The kneeling pad can be raised so it becomes a bench. Totally collapsible. You can see a version of same in Lee Valley catalogue, but others offer it as well. Cheers.

Name: Ruth Moxom

Avatar for Heuchera
A comment from Heuchera
January 26, 2019
Rather than a kneeler, I found the handiest solution was to buy a pair of roofer's knee pads that I could strap on. This gave me the freedom of walking around and not having to lug a bench around.

Avatar for muddygreenha
A comment from muddygreenha
January 26, 2019
Agreed ! Kneepads are the best for working in a garden ! $20 at a hardware them !

Name: Dennie
Indiana (Zone 6a)
Avatar for Dennie0813
A comment from Dennie0813
January 26, 2019
I am a senior citizen and an avid gardener. I use a collapsible garden kneeler a lot. The only issue I have is the vinyl pad. If it gets wet or sweaty it is slippery and your knees slip all the time. It would be nice if they came with a soft, washable absorbent cover to prevent this issue.

Name: Peggy C
Graham NC USA (Zone 7b)
hand drumming with friends
A comment from PeggyC
January 26, 2019
Sounds good for y'all, but not me. I have a rolling walker .. got a seat with bag under it for tools, etc ... but, the part of getting down and then back up can be interesting ! Don't want to, but am considering making the garden smaller this year - just because access is getting more difficult. Any suggestions appreciated,

Name: Karen Kidd
Fish Creek Wisconsin (Zone 5a)
Avatar for karengardens
A comment from karengardens
January 27, 2019
Hi Dylan, I own one of the collapsible kneelers that can be flipped and used as a seat or used as a kneeler and support me when trying to get up. Nice for my garden but awkward when I take it on a volunteer garden job. ( I'm a Master Gardener). I once saw a garden pad that was designed for arthritic people and was moldable and thick enough to cushion your knees if placing on hard surfaces. I have been trying to find such an animal ever since and cannot find it. I would totally purchase something like that if it were light weight and similar to a memory foam pillow.

Name: Steve
Loomis, CA (Zone 9a)
A comment from CelticFarm
April 14, 2023
The collapsible ones seem to have way to thin a pad :(

Name: Ruth Moxom

Avatar for Heuchera
A comment from Heuchera
October 28, 2023
For many years I strapped on a pair of roofers' knee pads. They were made of a softer material than the ones I see today where the outer shell is made of a harder plastic material.
As I got older, the ability to get up became more difficult, I did use a bench so I turned it around and sat on it instead to do my weeding.
This is a link to the softer type I mentioned. However, not having tried the knee pads with a harder shell on the outside, I really don't know how they'd feel, but this is the type I used for years:

Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
I have no use for internet bullies!
Answer from greene
September 12, 2017
I have an idea that would be a good garden kneeler. If you can remember the kneeling chairs people were buying a while ago...let me find a link with a photo...
Here is a link with photo showing a foldable kneeling chair. You would need to make yours of a more weatherproof material.

Since I am handicapped, when I get on the ground in a kneeling position I cannot get back up again unless I have something to pull up on, so the garden kneeler you design would need strong/sturdy handles. There could be a fabric bag on either side to hold small tools and having a mesh bottom on those bags would allow the excess soil that accumulates on tools/gloves to fall through, and of course, a carry handle would help also.

If you type 'garden kneeler' into a Google Image search you will see many flimsy steel kneelers, the pads in too narrow in both directions to be realistic. Also, the narrow base of the steel legs sinks into the ground/soil, so having 'big feet' would be helpful.

Hope this helps and I'd love to see your design as it progresses.

Avatar for Dylan1234
A comment from Dylan1234
September 12, 2017
What would you think of something like this: ? With modifications such as handles on wither side to get up/sit, possibly wheels for moving it around/colapsibility for storage? The folding mechanism on the one you sent looks rlly neat, I might play around with that idea... Thanx! and I'll try to post here with updates on the project

Avatar for harnumagyahoocom
A comment from harnumagyahoocom
October 14, 2017
See and look at their kneeler/ seats. I just got one and it’s perfect for me; I have bad knees and the handles give me support and getting up is easy whether kneeling or sitting.

I do like the idea of having the storage pockets made with holes in the bottoms to easily shake out the debris that collects.

Avatar for KLHETTICH
A comment from KLHETTICH
May 14, 2018
Are you still working on a garden kneeler? Last September, when you asked whether a seat like this : ? would be all right. Definitely not.
As for the one : https://www.coopersofstortford... I got one of those last year. I had it 2 days before it collapsed on me. I tried to move a smidge to the side and when I tried to lift it a bit, instead it collapsed from both sides in. Granted, I weight close to 200 pounds, but that should have been taken into consideration.
I really hope you continue as this object is really needed.
Good Luck

Avatar for Joybay
A comment from Joybay
February 12, 2019
I have hadone of these for a few years. It works well when sitting but I'd prefer the kneeling surface to be softer. I have raised beds so don't kneel much

Name: Kurt Nehrbass
Buffalo, NY (Zone 5b)
A weed is only a misplaced wildflow
Answer from KurtMN
January 26, 2019
The only problem with the kneelers I find is that they are not wide enough. You tend to get wedged in a small space if you use it to kneel. I would like to have a bit more room so my legs can bend easier. Also the seat needs to be attached better and stronger. Good luck!

Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Answer from lauriebasler
January 23, 2018
I think it may be useful for some. My husband just bought a memory foam pad for standing, that he will use for kneeling instead while cleaning tires and wheels on our cars. I will show him this and have him give his feelings.
The thing that deters me, is the handles, that are great for getting up and down would drive me crazy while I am trying to reach around to work. If they could be further back somehow, I would have to really consider trying it. Asking an awful lot I know. Good luck.

Avatar for cftutt
Answer from cftutt
January 26, 2019
My best solution for kneelers is: just don't kneel. I've built raised beds 32" high so I don't have to get down and dirty. :-)

(His location) Running Springs
Avatar for carosmith49
Answer from carosmith49
January 26, 2019
I find that the need for a "kneeler" depends on the weather and the soil at the time. I can kneel OK, although can be a bit stiff when I get up. Don't need anything fancy. BUT our soil is clay-rich and often very wet , or, in the summer, dried out and hard on the knees. I have kneeling pads (some sort of plastic) but they get weathered by the ultra-violet and disintegrate. A lightweight thick pad with folding handles (for easy storage) would be useful. For gardening in raised beds I think a chair or stool that has wheels that can roll on uneven and wet turf would be fantastic. Same principal as the wheelchairs at the beach for people who use wheelchairs all the time - huge wheels that will roll on soft sand.

Avatar for gillianbc
Answer from gillianbc
February 22, 2021
I'm not elderly (in my 50s), but I do an office job, so when I do have a lot of low-level garden work to do in Spring and Autumn, my muscles are just not used to it. It's the leaning forwards unsupported that gets me. I have tried squatting and kneeling, but still get sore and can only do 10 to 15 mins at a time. It's OK when things are immediately in front, but when I have to reach forward 18" or so, it's a lot of strain on my back. I have kneeling pads - both the flat sort and the handled sort, but I still have to reach.

Don't give up this idea - I need something!

Avatar for PattysPinkPosies
Answer from PattysPinkPosies
August 4, 2021
I am only 58. Both knees are shot and very painful to put my body weight on in a kneeling position. I have upper body strength to pull myself up from a kneeling position with the help of a garden kneel-er with handles or 5 gallon bucket to lean on to push myself upright. Gel knee pads help but still greatly irritate the knee caps so need days to recover from the irritation. My thought is elliptical, where the the majority of body weight is handled by a sling like frame that is supported by the torso and frame of the contraption and not the knees. You could be the next mill or billionaire. Hope this gives you some ideas!

Avatar for Dylan1234
Answer from Dylan1234
September 14, 2017
Do you find that your back/core muscles begin to ache after using a garden kneeler for extended periods of time, like along the red lines in the following photo?:
Thumb of 2017-10-12/Dylan1234/7630d0

Name: Meri Taylor
SD (Zone 4b)
A comment from mnmat
October 28, 2017
I also use that type of kneeler and after trying several different kinds I love it. No, I don't get tired from bending. Another thing, someone mentioned side pockets for tools etc but when I'm moving to another spot I grab one side and kind of swing it while walking. I'm afraid the pockets would strew my stuff along behind me.

Name: Missy Whitehead
North Florida (Zone 9a)
North Florida
Answer from melissawh
November 4, 2017
Dylan, I think the chair/kneeler is very clever. As I was reading all the comments and not clicking on the links I was actually envisioning something like you are proposing as I have a rocking "seat" that I use separately from my kneeling pad and knee braces. I always end up going from my rocking seat to the ground on my knees after awhile. And when just using my knee pad and knee braces I always wish I could sit backwards onto a stool of sorts.

So I'd have to try that new fangled invention to see if it is manageable. Surely you've got some ol folks to try it on. And P.S. next picture have the gal wearing socks and garden clogs or sneakers. Something not right about flip flops in the garden. :)

Avatar for peggyds1
A comment from peggyds1
January 26, 2019
I would like to know where I can find the chair/kneeler to try one. I can't bend over for a long period of time. It would be nice to have a seat to rest a minute.

Avatar for 20lake18
A comment from 20lake18
January 26, 2019
i am 80, I sit to garden, soot along on my plastic pad on my rear. 5 gallon pail drags or gets picked up and put ahead of me as I scoot. Get on my keens then up to empty pail. Can't bend over due to re-flux , can't garden on knees due to back surgery. Always a way if your a gardener.

Name: Frank Mosher
Nova Scotia, Canada (Zone 6a)
Answer from fwmosher
December 30, 2017
Dylan, I would be quite apprehensive about using your "bench" in one of your latest postings, purely on balance issues and ease of using same. The design forces one to be continually in a forward-leaning position, without the ability to kneel back up straight to stretch one's back. Others have mentioned the same.

Name: Bradley Beard
Rialto,California Southwest (Zone 10a)
Just ask and I will try to answer
Avatar for Mybigbro
Answer from Mybigbro
January 1, 2018
I use my wheelchair when I am Gardening because my legs tend to get weak as the day goes on. I have one of the garden seats with 4 wheels and a tractor seat and it works pretty good but even though the front wheels turn it is a hard thing to do because the steering column is just a straight upright bar and the whole unit is a little low to the ground and a little short in length if you can design a similar product that is bigger in h/wt / l with a steering column made in a t bar style that I believe would be great

Avatar for gloriamiller
Answer from gloriamiller
January 26, 2019
Hi Dylan -- Having used one of the rolling "kneeling chairs" at work after knee replacement surgery, I have often wished for something similar to use in my garden! Actually kneeling on my knee replacement is not possible for me, even with pads.
I'd suggest making the seat so it could slide up and down the center post using a pneumatic device. In the topmost position, the seat would be parallel to the ground and could be locked in place. Once seated securely, the gardener would be able to release the locking mechanism, allowing the seat to slide down, and rotate slightly forward (also locking in place.) The pneumatic device inside the center post would slow the descent so the seat wouldn't crash into place.
The piece in front of the gardener could be modified to include a basket for holding tools, or have a basket attached to its front (sort of like a bike basket).
When ready to stand up, the gardener would lean forward, weight on their shins, unlock the mechanism, and allow the seat to rise up the center post and level itself, then lock it in place. The gardener then sits erect and leans on his/her own knees to stand.
The overall stability of the chair is most important. Making sure the base of the chair is broad enough is key.
I can't see this chair being safe with wheels on it. Instead, substantial flat "feet" (say, 5" x 5" square) would be essential. They should be easy to slide when the chair needs to be moved or repositioned, but that would have to be done when the gardener isn't on the chair. I have found that I can move items that are way too heavy for me to carry by using a child's plastic sled. I pull the sled over the lawn, and the grass stands up again right behind it, whereas wagon wheels would make ruts. Likewise, the sled moves easily over gravel or concrete. But I wouldn't attempt to slide myself along while seated in a chair with a sled bottom, as it could easily fall over.
To accommodate very overweight gardeners, an extra sturdy chair designed with them in mind would be absolutely necessary! No one chair could be made usable for every size of gardener. Good luck with your project.

Name: Dawn R.
Sierra Vista, AZ (Zone 8b)
Avatar for DesertDawn
Answer from DesertDawn
January 26, 2019
My comments in regards to the chair that Dylan provided a link to in September of 2017 are that I don't see that as a practical device for 2 main reasons. Many older folks cannot get down into that low position without some sort of assistance to get down that low and then up again. Plus, you only have use of one hand and having your weight on that one arm would not allow for an extended period of gardening. Gardening is a two-handed sport! I use one of those rocker chairs and I like it better than kneeling but my low back starts to ache after awhile. The ergo kneeling chair that the one person posted would be great. Outfit it with solid rubber tires and tool storage. That would keep your body in a supported leaning position and I imagine you could garden for hours and have both hands available.

Name: Mary E. Rossow
San Francisco Peninsula
Answer from RossowResources
January 26, 2019
Hi Dylan... I'm thrilled to 👀 read your wonderful question!!! As a "6️⃣3️⃣ year young" avid 🌿🌷🌱gardner who also happens to be temporarily (I hope) disabled, I would welcome ANY product, tool or gadget that helps me to stay 😖 out-of-pain and 🚶🏻‍♀️🏃🏽‍♀️ physically active.

If I were to kneel in my 🌳 garden today, you'd have to use a forklift to get me up again. 😱

Here are my 💭 thoughts about design of something that would assist me.

Start with this product as a draft idea:

• manufacture using combination of LIGHTWEIGHT metal and strong, DURABLE plastic

• needs plastic HANDLE (metal gets too 🔥 hot in the ☀️ sun) and must be COLLAPSABLE

• hook or hole to HANG UP in shed or garage

• WIDE plastic feet and/or FAT wheels

• weight capacity 225 pounds MINIMUM (and perhaps 275 pounds maximum)

• extremely ERGONOMIC seat & knee-rest area

• seat made of plastic with detachable, WASHABLE cushion

• knee-rests made of plastic with THICKLY PADDED detachable, WASHABLE cushions

• area BEHIND seat to hold or hang 3 gardening tools, gloves, etc.

• PLUS, you could either make "after-market add-ons"

• OR make a second DELUXE MODEL (such as matching attachable cart to hold beverage cup/bottle, cell phone, seed packets, kleenex, etc.

• perhaps a WASHABLE nylon zippered bag (w/ handle) to store it in off-season

EMAIL ME for additional ideas... I'd love to help you come up with a NAME for your product.

[email protected]


Name: Virginia Pleban

Avatar for bobginny
Answer from bobginny
January 28, 2019
My husband redesigned the one with the seat you can sit on or lower it I cannot kneel so he made extra wide "feet" so I would not tip over when I was bending over. I also have a 4 wheel seat, and hope to use it this year. Actually I used my walker and had it lower than for walking. Just some ideas that seem to work for me.

Avatar for mindnova
Answer from mindnova
January 29, 2019
To me, the biggest issue is being down on all fours, support for my chest would allow me to use both hands. The wooden kneeling seat, would be ideal with wings to help you climb up from the resting position.

Avatar for emerika
Answer from emerika
February 2, 2019
As far as I see this suggestion did'nt pop up : the front (where your 'front-of-knee' is) rather higher than the back (where the rest of your leg goes toward your foot) , so that there is a slope of +- 20 % or more . That way the underleg and foot also support you and thus a fair amount of pressure is taken away from the knee , which , after all , is a somewhat delicate part of the body .
How about it ? Tell me please .
Best of greeting from a green part of Europe

You must be signed in before you can post questions or answers. Click here to join!

« Return to the Garden Knowledgebase Homepage

Member Login:

( No account? Join now! )