Landscaping Tips For Seniors

Whether you are already in your golden years or simply designing a dream home intended to take you into retirement eventually, considering the impact of your landscape design on comfortable aging is a must. This is especially true if you enjoy spending time outside or working in the garden or yard. The following tips can help you design an aging-friendly landscape that is also attractive.

Tip #1: Perfect the Paths

Mobility often suffers as people age, so it's important to plan the pathways in the garden and yard to take into account that mobility devices, such as wheelchairs or walkers, may someday be necessary. This means opting for paved surfaces with ramps instead of steps. Also, make sure walkways are wide enough to allow a wheelchair to pass through easily. You may also want to avoid brick or stone pavers, since these can have uneven edges that can cause tripping. You don't have to go with plain concrete, though. You can have concrete dyed and stamped to look like brick or stone.

Tip #2: Elevate Your Beds

Bending over is another task that becomes more difficult as you age. This can be a problem if you enjoy working in the garden. To counteract this, build elevated garden beds that you can reach from a standing or sitting position. Simple stone or brick retaining walls can hold the soil while also providing a handy seat. This will much kinder to both your back and knees.

Tip #3: Don't Skimp on Seating

Ample seating areas sprinkled throughout the landscape ensures you will always have a place to rest and enjoy your yard. Provide space for some tucked away chairs or benches for a bit of respite. Skip flimsy plastic offerings and instead opt for sturdy weighted seats made of wood or wrought iron so you don't have to worry about tipping or an unsteady seat. Seats with arm rests are also helpful, since it can be easier to lift yourself out of these seats.

Tip #4: Plan Your Plantings

Plant choices are a highly personal thing, but it's still a good idea to plan for minimal care. A combination of low maintenance perennials, such as lavender, sage, and echinacea, along with shrubs that rarely need pruned, such as rhododendrons, add plenty of color and texture without needing a ton of ongoing care. If you enjoy working in the garden, include a couple of vegetable or annual beds, or a bed of more fussy flowers like dahlias or roses. This way you won't be struggling to maintain a huge garden but can still get the joy of some dirt time.

For more information, talk to a landscape design specialist.