Survey data consistently shows that the vast majority of older adults wish to age in place – and for good reason. Being able to remain in your own home and community as you age generally leads to better psychological, social, and physical outcomes for seniors. But in order to live comfortably, you need your indoor and outdoor spaces to accommodate your current and future needs.
A well-designed aging-in-place landscape prioritizes accessibility, safety, convenience, and beauty. Features like smooth walkways, raised garden beds, low-maintenance plants, and outdoor lighting can make your property more usable and attractive. At Blessing Landscapes in Portland, we design, install, and maintain beautiful landscapes optimized for individual needs, abilities, and preferences.
Here’s everything you need to know about designing your Portland landscape for aging in place!
What Is Aging in Place for Landscape Design?
As we reach our golden years, it’s important to adapt the environment around us to meet our changing needs. But that doesn’t mean we should have to sacrifice aesthetics. A beautiful landscape design offers a number of benefits for people of all ages:
- Ensuring safety and security
- Increasing the value of your property
- Improving overall mood
- Contributing to a more sustainable ecosystem
No matter your physical needs or personal style preferences, a well-designed landscape has the power to elevate your lifestyle and property. Unfortunately, many popular landscape designs aren’t built with older homeowners in mind, often requiring extensive maintenance and presenting hazards for those with mobility concerns. This makes a stroll through the garden more of a hassle than an enjoyable part of your day.
So can you achieve a gorgeous outdoor space that has all the features you love and accommodates your aging-in-place needs? Absolutely! With the right approach, we can help you design a functional and beautiful landscape for you and your loved ones to enjoy for years to come.
Creating Accessible Spaces
A landscape design for elderly individuals should be able to stand the test of time without requiring constant updating to accommodate your needs. Fortunately, there are many ways to create an accessible landscape design. Whether you have a green thumb and want to tend to your plants without unnecessary physical strain, or you have a walking aide and want to be able to navigate your garden without worrying about falling, Blessing Landscapes has you covered.
Here are a few design strategies to enhance mobility and ease-of-use:
- Raised or hanging flower beds to limit bending and crouching
- Wheelchair-accessible ramps
- Level pathways
- Abundant seating
- Handrails for added stability
Blending Aesthetics and Functionality
You should never have to sacrifice the beauty of your landscape to ensure accessibility. There are many ways to integrate features that are both practical and aesthetically pleasing.
For example, you can add wooden handrails along your garden for stability and a timelessly rustic look. You can also incorporate smooth-edge paths around your garden, making it easier to access your plants and adding visual intrigue. For smaller spaces, consider using hanging flowers or vertical gardens to add vibrancy and avoid low, hard-to-reach flower beds.
Tailoring Designs to Portland’s Environment
Local Plant Selection
When it comes to choosing plants for your landscape, it’s important to opt for species that thrive in Portland’s natural climate. Working with both native plants and non-native species that are drought tolerant, resistant to pests and diseases, and require little pruning and other maintenance can go a long way.
Here are a few beautiful plants that meet these criteria to include in your Portland landscape:
- Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa)
- Sword Fern (Polystichum munitum)
- Gold Flame Spirea (Spiraea japonica ‘Goldflame‘)
- Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica ‘Compacta’)
- Flame of the Forest Pieris (Pieris japonica ‘Forest Flame’)
- Japanese Spurge (Pachysandra terminalis)
- Blackeyed Susan (Rudbeckia ‘Goldstrum’)
In Portland’s ultra-rainy climate, it’s essential to design a landscape that withstands our local weather conditions. That’s why you should opt for durable materials and structures as well as plants that can handle plenty of rain.
Here are a few ways to increase your landscape’s water resilience:
- Add a rain garden.
- Use retaining walls to divert water away from your home.
- Update your drainage system.
- Install a low-maintenance synthetic lawn.
Practical Tips for Age-Inclusive Gardens
Choosing plants and landscape design features that require minimal upkeep means you can spend your golden years enjoying your outdoor spaces with your loved ones, rather than working in them. Here are some low-maintenance ideas to consider for your aging-in-place landscape:
- Add hardscaping features like patios and walkways.
- Opt for water-saving and low-maintenance plants.
- Consider a synthetic lawn.
When in doubt, don’t forget that you can always hire professionals to handle landscape maintenance for you throughout the year. Opting for low-maintenance plants and other features can certainly make your life easier and help you achieve your goal of comfortably aging in place. But hiring professionals allows you to truly enjoy your home and property completely free of the burden of landscape maintenance – or the worry that you may struggle to maintain your yard in the future.
Safety Measures in Outdoor Design
Safety should be a priority for all homeowners in landscape design. But as we age, accidents and falls are more likely to lead to injury. Here are some features that can improve the safety and long-term usability of your aging-in-place Portland landscape:
- Slip-resistant pathways
- Plenty of comfortable outdoor seating and covered areas
- Wide, flat walkways to accommodate wheelchairs and walking aids
- Abundant outdoor lighting for improved visibility
- No-step entryways and gates
Smart Landscaping Features
Integrating technology into your aging-in-place landscape design can make taking care of your property simpler, easier, and more fun. Automated irrigation systems, smart lighting, and security features like nighttime trail cams can all be controlled remotely and set up to follow routines so you don’t have to go outside to start up your sprinklers or turn off your deck lights at a specific time.
Create a Beautiful, Accessible Oasis in Your Portland Yard!
For too long, interior and exterior home design has focused on standardized solutions that don’t work for people with disabilities or those wishing to age in place. At Blessing Landscapes, our award-winning team can create customized landscape designs and installations that accommodate your needs and abilities now and in the future. We also offer comprehensive landscape maintenance plans to ensure your property continues to look its best for many years to come.
Contact us today to discuss your aging-in-place landscape project and find out how we can help transform your vision into a reality!