We all hope to enjoy a landscape that complements our homes, adds curb appeal, and provides for our outdoor living needs But as we get older, we confront other considerations. It’s common to renovate the inside of homes in order to accommodate age and disability, but what about the outside?
Yes, in fact, this is something we should all consider. If you’re approaching retirement age, it’s time to think about whether you want to remain in your home for the long haul. And if so, does the landscape need any alterations that will help you to better enjoy the outdoors as you age?
Likewise, you might be helping a parent or neighbor make these very same decisions. Perhaps you’re even considering multi-generational living, and a parent or other relative is moving in with you. The following landscape alterations will benefit your situation as well.
Ramps. Ramps are a necessity for anyone who uses a wheelchair (and, in fact, will be required by law for rental units in which a person with certain disabilities will live). But ramps are also useful for anyone using a walker, even temporarily after an injury. For those who experience difficulty with vision or coordination, ramps can be much easier to navigate than stairs.
Wider walkways. Walkways should also accommodate wheelchairs and motorized scooters. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that sidewalks must be 36 inches wide, so use that measurement as your rule of thumb.
Clearance between structures. Likewise, clearance between outdoor structures such as posts and barbecues should be as least 36 inches. This width allows for clearance of wheelchairs so that all outdoor areas can be accessed by those with mobility challenges.
Raised beds. Do you, or does your loved one, enjoy gardening? Bending and kneeling can become challenging with age, but raised garden beds eliminate this difficulty. Garden beds can be constructed at any height you desire, so that you can continue with this rewarding hobby from a standing or seated position.
A private patio. If an older relative is moving into your in-law suite, consider constructing them an outdoor patio or deck. A tidy outdoor space allows for greater independence and privacy while entertaining, and makes the place feel like home.
Contact us for more landscape design ideas as life brings you changes and challenges. We will help you accommodate your new lifestyle with a beautiful, functional landscape.