Spending time outdoors is great for everyone – but it poses special benefits for seniors. Not only can spending time outside boost your energy levels and reduce your risk of depression, but it can help promote positive social interactions, too.
A beautiful and properly maintained outdoor space gives one a sense of independence, and a place to relax, connect with nature, and think peacefully. With seniors, these are valuable and non-negotiable.
Of course, these aren’t the only benefits of spending time in the great outdoors – the list is endless!
But if you’re going to spend time outside, it’s essential that you have the right space to do it in. If you are a homeowner looking for ideas on how to upgrade your space to make it more senior-friendly, you’ll need to keep a few things in mind.
Consider these top five landscaping tips for a senior-friendly outdoor space.
5 Landscaping Tips for a Senior-Friendly Landscape
Although you should design your landscape so that it meets your specific health and mobility needs, in general, these landscaping tips should help you make your green spaces more comfortable and accessible. Before we begin, we would like to point out that if you are struggling to get more ideas for your landscape, you can always hire Round Rock tree experts for your landscaping projects.
1. Plan for Seating in the Shade
No matter how much you love spending time outdoors, you’re probably going to get tired of standing after a while. Because of this, you should design your landscape so that it includes lots of seating.
Install seating areas strategically around the yard – don’t stick to just the patio and instead, add stylish pergolas, loungers, and other seats so that you can take a rest whenever you need or want it. When buying seats, make them comfy! Choose outdoor furniture like cushions and plush seats to make your landscape as cozy as can be.
Shade is essential, too, especially if you live in a hot, sunny climate. Pavilions and again, pergolas, are good options, but you don’t necessarily need to get this involved. Even a few cleverly placed shade trees can provide you with ample shade for gardening or relaxing beneath.
It’s best that you consider the sun’s path. You can take note of this as you observe your outdoor space daily. Or you can also download an app that tells you this exactly. When you know the sun’s path, you can better plan the placement of your seating areas.
2. Make it Easily Navigable
Ensuring that you can move easily from one place to another should be another top priority. Whenever possible, eliminate steps – these can be tripping hazards. Instead, use ramps to help you get from point A to point B.
Another important thing is to use contrasting colors for pathways, steps, and edges. Most seniors already have poor eyesight; with colored paths, they can easily navigate and avoid tripping.
If you have a sloped lawn, you might want to terrace or re-grade it. Not only will this allow you to minimize the use of steps, but it can also prevent water, snow, and ice from pooling.
In addition, consider the size of your senior loved one’s walker or wheelchair, ensuring they can easily access the outdoor space more safely.
Finally, don’t be afraid of installing a few handrails or other mobility aids. These are small steps that can mean a world of difference when it comes to your ability to enjoy your backyard.
3. Go Low-Maintenance with Your Plants
In the past, you might not have minded spending hours pruning your beloved roses, but as you get older, it’s important to design your landscape with simplicity in mind.
Choose low-maintenance plants, such as native perennials, that will allow you to appreciate their natural beauty without requiring hours’ worth of work. Woody shrubs can add color and appeal to the lawn and also require minimal work to maintain, especially if you, again, choose native shrubs that are acclimated to your area’s climate.
When you’re selecting plants for your backyard, choose those that have minimal fertilizing, pruning, and irrigation needs. To make your life even easier, install automatic sprinklers so you don’t have to lug a hose around to water everything.
Selecting plants that are native to your area makes it easier for them to survive with few interventions. They will thrive with just a bit of organic lawn fertilizer and natural rainfall, rarely requiring supplemental irrigation.
In addition, select drought-tolerant plants. They require minimal effort and are more sustainable.
Plus, they’ll attract all kinds of pollinators and native wildlife to your backyard, too!
Finally, consider adding mulch to your lawn. They retain moisture in the soil and prevent weed growth. Choose organic ones, as they keep your plants healthier and more robust.
4. Choose Durable Landscaping Features
It’s not just the plants that should be low-maintenance but also the hardscaping. Whether you’re adding bird feeders, planter boxes, or even a deck to your landscape, make sure it’s durable and easy to take care of.
For example, composite decking is a great choice for seniors. It doesn’t require regular staining or sealing and since it can be power-washed, it’s easier to maintain.
Whenever possible, choose building materials that are stable, durable, and slip-resistant so that you can go about your gardening projects with ease.
Artificial grass is one feature you may want to consider adding. Although this is something that some people might scoff at, artificial grass is a reasonable alternative to turfgrass for several reasons. Not only will you be able to spend less money and time on fertilizing, weed control, mowing and watering, but it looks great all season long, too.
If you have an extensive outdoor space and find it challenging to maintain by yourself, you can seek the help of experts. A professional service from a lawn care company will ensure your outdoor space’s pristine condition.
Don’t knock it till you try it – there are all kinds of artificial turfgrasses out there now that look a lot like the real thing!
5. Keep it Illuminated
Last but not least, know that good lighting is essential for everyone, but especially for seniors.
You need good lighting to ensure that you stay safe and secure. Install outdoor lighting futures around the patio, deck, or other outdoor entertainment areas. That way, you’ll be able to see what you’re doing while you’re entertaining guests while also staying safe.
Take a walk around the property and make a list of the areas in which you spend the most time. These should all be spots where you install lighting. Be sure to include walkway lighting as well as overhead lighting in your planning.
You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to install new light fixtures, either. There are plenty of budget-friendly ways you can upgrade your lighting, including by installing solar-powered lights. Solar lights are not only eco-friendly but they’re more affordable, too, since they run without electricity.
Upgrade Your Lawn ASAP With These Helpful Tips
Landscaping is a great way to spruce up your home and add value. Of course, being outside is a wonderful way to improve your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing, too.
However, as we get older, it can be more difficult to maintain a beautiful lawn. Fortunately, these landscaping tips will not only make your lawn easier to care for, but also easier to enjoy.
Follow this advice for a low-maintenance lawn that’s perfect for people of all ages to enjoy.
Rebekah Pierce is a writer in upstate New York, just north of the Adirondack Mountains. She holds both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Education degree. In addition to writing, she also owns a farm, where she grows a variety of plants and raises chickens, pigs, and sheep. Her writing interests cover everything from farming and gardening to education, health and wellness, and business. She writes regularly for her own blog, J&R Pierce Family Farm, as well as for California Mobility.