There’s nothing like the feel of fresh air on your skin, and the warm sun on your face to refresh, renew and invigorate.
Even in the depths of winter, a quick wander round the garden can do wonders to clear the mind and lift the spirits.
And of course, this doesn’t change as you get older, although getting around might be more of a challenge. But with some careful planning and the right furniture, it’s easy to create a garden which is mobility friendly and will continue to be a safe and happy space for you to enjoy.
Here are some suggestions which could help.
Watch your Footing
It’s easy for anyone to slip over in the garden and uneven stones, decking or wonky steps can be all it takes to fall down.
Make sure all the surfaces are level and any changes in height – such as a step up or down – are clearly visible, preferably with a change of colour in the surface. As we get older our ability to perceive depth diminishes so helping our eyes interpret what’s in front of us, can make it easier to avoid slips and trips. If walking frames or wheelchairs are needed, a slope is a far better idea and very easily be put in.
A decorative edging around the flowerbeds may look nice but those loose stones can jut out and easily cause a fall. Particularly for someone who’s not as able on their feet.
Another culprit for accidents is the legs of chairs which stick out from underneath, invisibly creating a hazard.
Although ornate legs can look beautiful, they are easy to miss and can cause accidents amongst all age groups, not just the elderly! A better option is to choose a rattan seat; with a solid base or legs, there’s no trip hazard and you also benefit from a long-lasting and attractive piece of garden furniture!
Consider your Back
The human back endures a lot during its lifetime, carrying weight incessantly as we walk around on two legs instead of four.
As we approach our later years, it’s even more important to take care of the back, as it’s easy to sustain a painful injury which is difficult to shift.
Not lifting too much and bending using the correct techniques are helpful, but it’s even better if you can totally avoid bending over for long period’s altogether.
Keeping the garden well-weeded and in prime condition may mean many hours spent kneeling on a gardening pad. A far better option is to pick some planters; these are easier to manage and because they’re higher don’t require so much bending and stretching.
You could even pick your planter to co-ordinate with your garden. Rattan planters are available which match garden furniture, a sophisticated touch.
Make it a Joy
If you want to carry on using your garden as much as possible, it’s important to create the right set-up which works for you.
Low-slung chairs may be comfortable to lie in but if climbing in and out is arduous it’s going to deter you from using them.
Pick a chair which is comfortably padded, but not too soft and one which is supportive. Ideally with a backrest and arms. Stools aren’t ideal and neither are chairs with low backs or scattered cushions. Arms can be a useful point to prop your book or phone on as well as providing extra help in getting back up.
Rattan is a material which provides a gentle yield but is supportive too. Padded upholstery provides the comfort without creating a chair that sucks you into its depths! It comes in many styles so look out for one that has the features described above.
There’s no reason to give up on having a beautiful garden as you get older and even if your mobility isn’t as good as it used to be, just a few subtle changes will help you to continue to enjoy your outside space for many years to come.