Aging in Place in the Garden

It used to be that I loaded my spade, shovel, action hoe, clippers, and folding saw into my wheelbarrow and took off into the sunrise. Now that sunset approaches, I have to be a lot more careful negotiating the landscape and working in it.

First we installed hardscaping that would not trip up a walker or wheel chair. This meant setting flagstone and brick in mortar, rather than in a mulch bed.

Brick and flagstone walkway to front door

We have walks both in the front and the back leading to the front door and the back that even a person in a wheelchair can manage. There are significant barriers at the front door (many steps to front stoop), but we have a ramp that can be mounted at the back door to get up to the back stoop and into the house. This ramp can be moved to a pair of french doors at the back of the house if needed.

Then DH built 4 foot square raised beds for vegetable and flower planting.

One of four raised beds

These beds have been placed at the side of the yard and a beautiful metal fence installed around them to keep the deer out. This has been a real pleasure to work and enjoy.

Raised beds fenced in

Then we opted to bring in help to weed and put down mulch once a year in the spring. This allows me to plant and care for plants rather than constantly weed and maintain the beds. The problem with this effort is timing. The men come in May or June and I have to struggle with weeding from April (when we arrive from the south) until they come to take care of the beds. With a warm spring, this can mean several generations of weeds to be hoed and disposed of before they come to weed and lay down fresh mulch. We probably need to engage this help earlier in the year.

We have been careful to NOT add steps or stairs in the landscape to facilitate getting around with a walker without having to lift it up or get it down a step from one part of the garden to another. It would be prettier with steps, but not safer, so we have opted for safety.

We must still be very careful in moving around the landscape so as to avoid tripping. I had put down metal mesh and fencing to keep the deer out of some of my tastiest perennial beds, but have pulled it all up for looks and safety this year. I will be spraying bad tasting and bad smelling stuff to try to deter the deer. Wish us luck!

Do you have a plan for keeping up with your garden as you get older or just busier? What landscaping has helped you or hindered you getting around outside?


About Shenandoah Kepler

Hi! I’m Shenandoah and I love to garden. I am becoming an ancient gardener, and am finding new ways to stay digging and enjoying the land.
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2 Responses to Aging in Place in the Garden

  1. Tonya says:

    You have a BEAUTIFUL landscape. And I especially admire how you made it accessible. To often we don’t think of hour surroundings will accommodate us as we age.

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