How to create an outdoor space that’s both attractive and practical for seniors
Tips for creating a landscape that’s appealing, low-maintenance and safe for seniors and others.
- Provide shade. It’s important to have shade for seniors in the garden, especially in summer. Their skin is more susceptible to sunburn, and they can more easily suffer from heatstroke.
- Include seating. It’s important to have several comfortable and stable seating options in the garden where those who tire more easily can rest.
- Raise the garden beds. Some older adults have physical restrictions that make bending difficult, so bring garden beds to an accessible level.
- Choose lightweight garden tools. Lightweight, easy-to-handle tools are less likely to slip out of hands and cause injury.
“Limited mobility, vision and agility can play a big role in how much someone enjoys and uses an outdoor space”
Factor In Older Adults’ Specific Health Needs
- Vision impairment. It’s common for vision to deteriorate as we age; the results range from needing glasses to suffering a complete loss of vision. This is one of the most important things to factor in when planning for accessibility and activity in the garden.
- Body-temperature issues. The older we get, the quicker we can become dehydrated, which can also lead to heat exhaustion. Ensure easy access to water as well as to rest spots and shade.
Choose Low-Maintenance Plants
Make your senior-friendly garden as easy to care for as possible. Choose plants, trees and vegetables that are not fussy and that need a minimal amount of maintenance to grow. Avoid planting items that spread easily, need a lot of trimming or attract pests.
Other Elements You May Like to Include
- Vegetable garden. It is important for everyone, regardless of age, to maintain good health, which is why I find having a spot to grow produce essential to any garden. People love growing, picking and cooking their own fresh herbs and vegetables.
- Quiet spots. Include quiet places where visitors can think or read a book, adding to the garden’s appeal.
- Wildlife-friendly features. People of every age usually love wildlife. Adding features to your garden that will attract birds and butterflies is a great idea.
- Color. Plants with plenty of color lift the spirit and can inspire us to get moving. They’re also great for detracting attention from less-than-lovely features in a garden.