Landscaping for Aging in Place

As we age, we question if we are going to be able to take care of our homes and gardens. Gardens are not one-size-fits-all and just because we are becoming oldsters doesn’t mean we are necessarily infirm and unable to maintain and enjoy our gardens. It becomes a question of what is the level of comfort, IE, can we bend over? Will our hands be able to prune? Can we climb the steps safely? Every body is different.

Lawn, or the sacred grass as I call it, can be burdensome to the body and the finances. Paying someone for weekly lawn maintenance can be expensive, noisy and polluting. My mother was mowing her lawn with a push-mower at age 85, but she was not your typical oldster. I suggest having a little flat lawn or no lawn at all. There are many easy care shrubs and groundcovers that can replace a lawn and create habitat. Personally, I would rather bird-watch than mow a lawn.

Safe passage is important with easy to maneuver pathways and steps. All steps should have exactly the same rise so that you can safely anticipate your next step. Railings can be helpful and may be required. When replacing driveways, steps and entries think about access in case of a future impediment or disability.

The addition of places to sit and rest can offer a change of view. Chose both sunny and shady locations and most of all, consider the view. Perhaps site fragrant plants nearby.

Raised beds should be high and wide enough to sit on while planting seed or harvesting vegetables. Plantings should be easy care and not grow out of bounds, meaning the right plant is in the right place. Have fewer high maintenance perennials and more blooming shrubs. Views from your windows should be taken into consideration with a focus on winter interest.

Landscaping with security in mind is important. There should be a clear view of all entries to your home, especially the front door. Shrubs should not block windows. There should be gates on both sides of your home for accessibility and fire safety.

If needed, a professional gardener 2 to 4 times a year may be helpful and you can garden with them and make a new friend.

No Lawn and Raised Bed
Safe Steps and Ramped Entry

Raised Beds
Places to Sit

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