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Low-maintenance gardening for the elderly

Low-maintenance gardening for the elderly

Gardening is a great activity for the elderly to get involved in. However, gardening can be strenuous and tiring for those with mobility issues or illness. 

At Atlas Sheds, we understand how important hobbies are for our well-being, so we’ve compiled a list of low-maintenance gardening ideas for our elderly customers. 

Before you get stuck in, have a look at our sheds to give your garden that extra detail.

Designing an elderly-friendly garden

To create a low-maintenance garden, multiple factors must be considered, such as safety, accessibility, and ease of use. 

Apply the following ideas to your garden for a beautiful space that is easy to upkeep. 

1. Low-maintenance plants and flowers

No garden is complete without a stunning shrub of plants and flowers to take care of. 

Lots of greenery is the key to the perfect garden, and these easygoing plants and flowers will uplift your outdoor space:

  • Lavender- minimal watering and a beautiful aroma.
  • Geranium- offers a range of colours with minimal care.
  • Sedum- thrive in well-drained soil.
  • Echinacea- attracts pollinators and provides long-lasting blooms.
  • Marigold- easy to grow with shades of gold and yellow.
  • Cosmos- daisy-like blooms and attracts pollinators.
  • Zinnia- colourful and requires little maintenance.

2. Raised beds and containers

Raised beds are ideal for people with mobility issues. You no longer need to bend down and strain yourself to tend to your garden. 

These beds are soil-filled boxes or mounds raised above the ground for easy accessibility. The defined boundaries of raised beds and containers make it easier to control weeds, and they offer better drainage for plants.

These can be placed anywhere in your garden, preferably closer to your home for less walking distance. Add handrails or support structures to aid balance and mobility near the raised containers.

3. Ergonomic tools

Ergonomic tools are designed to reduce discomfort and strain whilst gardening. This makes them easier to grip, reducing fatigue for long periods of use.

These tools are often balanced to distribute weight evenly, reducing arm and shoulder strain. Some ergonomic tools include: 

  • Shovels and spades- ergonomic design, which reduces wrist strain and enhances grip.
  • Kneelers and seats- a comfortable place to rest whilst gardening. 
  • Hand trowels and cultivators- comfortable handles to reduce strain.
  • Carts and wagons- ergonomic handles and sturdy wheels make them easier to manoeuvre. 

4. Pathways and paving

Installing pathways in your garden can make it more accessible for people with wheelchairs or walking aids. 

Paving can be arranged to lead up to certain areas in the garden, such as a vegetable patch, greenhouse, or garden shed. Rubberised pathways are shock-absorbent, making them a comfortable option for walking.

For mobility aids, a minimum width of 36 inches (90 cm) is recommended. Straighter pathways will provide ease of transport compared to winding pavement.

5. Automatic irrigation systems 

Irrigation systems water your garden in intervals, reducing the need for frequent watering or upkeep. 

These can be programmed to turn on and off at certain times of the day, such as the morning and night, for sufficient hydration.

Elderly individuals can easily control and adjust the system, reducing the physical strain that accompanies daily watering. 

6. Garden seating

Seating is popular in many gardens, but this is especially beneficial for elderly homeowners. 

Having a place to relax outside your home enhances well-being and ncourages physical activity. For those who can’t walk too far, having an easily accessible place to enjoy nature is the perfect solution. 

Seating is also great for resting between outdoor activities or gardening to prevent fatigue or joint pain. 

7. Vertical gardening 

Trellises, wall-mounted plants, and hanging baskets are the perfect way to create an accessible, but visually pleasing garden.

These can be placed on fences, garden walls, and sheds. Various plants and flowers can be grown in them, such as perennials, herbs, vegetables, and even small shrubs.

Vertical gardens can be adjusted to the homeowner's height for ease of use. Drip irrigation or misting systems can also be used to ensure efficient watering of the plants.

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