When designing an outdoor space for the more elderly members of your family, you’ll need to consider safety and accessibility for those who may have mobility issues and the practicality of use. So, how do architects and other design experts plan a senior-friendly landscape and outdoor space with this in mind?
Prioritise safety and comfort
When your outdoor space feels safer and more comfortable, your family will spend more time there. The older adults, as well as young kids, can then enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. Consider doing the following:
- Provide enough shade in the garden to avoid sunburn or heatstroke.
- Put several comfortable and stable seating options where people can rest. Choose chairs that aren’t too high or low so older adults wouldn’t have a hard time using them. Also consider chairs with back rests, rather than stools or benches.
- Elevate the garden beds to minimise back aches when it comes to maintenance.
- Invest in lightweight gardening tools that are easy to use and carry.
Help them move quickly in the garden
Some seniors have physical limitations which make walking or moving around difficult. However, it’s important they can still enjoy the garden. You can help them by:
- Paving the outdoor living and dining spaces using non-slip pavers. Include plenty of flat surfaces, so older adults with mobility or visual impairments can walk safely to the garden.
- Make sure walkways and pathways are accessible and easy to navigate. Don’t forget lighting for night time.
- For gardeners, zone the landscape. Provide areas for every type of plant you have (like vegetables in the middle, fruit trees on the side or native bush species around the house). Zoning makes it easy for people to move around and find what they’re looking for.
Grow low-maintenance plants
A senior-friendly landscape and garden should be easy to care for. To make this happen, choose low-maintenance plants and trees. Avoid plants that spread easily, need regular trimming and attract pests. Try planting magnolias, banksias, grevilleas or citrus trees.
Other design features to consider:
- Quiet and comfy spots give older adults a place to rest, meditate or read a book. Fountains or bird baths can add an extra touch of tranquility and interest to the garden space.
- If your elderly family member enjoys a bit of exercise or movement – include a soft grassed space where they can do their stretches or activity.
- Colours can help lift the mood. Make flowers a beautiful addition to the garden. These also attract butterflies, bees and birds to the garden. As a result, the garden can look and feel more alive.
- If planting fruit, vegetables and herbs for the elderly, make sure garden beds are higher for easy access for watering and picking.
Create a senior-friendly landscape that everyone can enjoy
An expert landscape architect can look at your property and recommend solutions to make your outdoor spaces accessible, safe and practical for the aging. If you’re looking for professional landscape designs for your multi-generational home or around a granny flat where your parents or in-laws live, get in touch with us.