According to Pew Research, 10,000 people retire every day. As we get older, more and more of us want to find ways to stay in our own homes for the long-haul. If not, many of us are looking for ways we can invite our older family members to live and be cared for in our homes rather than in a retirement center. 24% of baby boomers anticipate that a parent will move in with them at some point.

Many of these retirees look to spend their retirement in the outdoors. They are wanting an outdoor space that is safe and comfortable. There are many factors to consider in your landscape design to ensure that it is ideal for you or your loved ones as you or they age.

Low Maintenance

The last thing we want as we age is to have a landscape that requires a lot of work. Many of us enjoy working in the yard, but there are ways to be able to enjoy this as a hobby, and not have to be burdened by regular upkeep. When you hire a landscape design company, they can help you make a design that will incorporate low maintenance. Consider plants that do not require a great deal of trimming or watering. Plants that are not prone to disease or pest problems. You will want hardy plants that are able to withstand the elements where you live with little worry. Composite materials instead of pressure treated wood for decks and structures will require minimum maintenance over the years. Finally, natural stone or high-quality pavers are going to last longer with minimal maintenance compared to concrete.

Lighting for the Elderly

Well lit landscaping is important for safety and security. This is a factor at any age. When considering safety for older family members or guests, landscapers should consider particular attention to areas that may pose a trip or fall hazard. This is especially important anywhere there are steps. Motion sensor lighting can be energy efficient and help prevent accidents by illuminating areas as you move about the property after the sun goes down.


Speaking of steps, a huge consideration for those who are older is minimizing the number of steps needed. With aging, it is common to have a limited range of motion.  Steps can not only be difficult to conquer, but a safety hazard. There are times when steps can be eliminated with ramps. Landscape designers can incorporate terracing or grading to make unlevel areas more gradual. You can use sloping walkways or ramps to move from area to area instead of steps. Whether you have ramps, slopes, or steps it is important to also consider handrails on both sides.


When looking at current landscape it is important to watch for things that can pose dangerous obstacles for older residents. Trees with large surface roots can create a tripping hazard. The tree does not have to be removed. Perhaps you can extend a mulch or flower bed under the tree out far enough to encompass the roots so that the roots are not in a walkway.

Separate Space for the Elderly

If you plan to invite your parents back into your home with an in-law suite or separate apartment, you may want to consider offering them their own landscape design to go with their space. Oftentimes, in-law suites are large additions, attached to the existing home but with its own entrance/exit to the outdoors. Creating a private outdoor space will give the in-law suite residents privacy and some freedom.


When considering older residents, landscaping design should incorporate plenty of shade. Shade trees or structures will provide a peaceful place of respite in the yard.


Having plenty of space to sit down and enjoy the space is a key consideration of a landscape design inviting for the elderly. A social space for smaller gatherings or card parties or a large space for large family gatherings are ideal. Consider spaces that the kids will love when visiting. Even if the residents do not anticipate many visitors, plenty of seating is essential. Consider someone walking through the property to enjoy the landscape design. It is common that an older person will need paces to take a rest along the way, or even to just sit and enjoy different areas of the property.

Birds and Animals

Many people enjoy bird watching. Incorporating feeder areas into a landscape design can be done in a strategic way to allow viewing from both inside as well as outside the property. Choosing the best plants to attract the birds is also important.


When designing a landscape for older residents that enjoy gardening as a pastime, you will want to incorporate areas to continue the hobby. Getting down to the ground to garden can be a challenge. Consider raised bed gardening or gardening, container gardening, gardening in pots or window boxes.  Studies show that gardening activities with aging can help promote better mental and physical wellness. It can relieve stress and anxiety. It boosts the immune system. It is excellent exercise. Fresh air and sunshine can do wonders for the mood and your health. Finally, gardening is shown to reduce the risk of dementia by as much as 36%.


Along with spaces for gardening, seniors who enjoy gardening as a hobby need the right tools. There are things to consider that will make things easier. A wheeled cart is a great way to get tools from a shed or garage to the work area. They are also a great option for a place to sit while working.  Brightly colored handles are easier to see as our vision becomes more challenged. Consider the water source and how you will reach the garden with the hose. When dexterity is an issue, tiny seeds may be difficult to manage. Consider seed syringes, seed tape, soil with seed already mixed in, or transplants.

Special Plants

Plants and even specific fragrances can bring back memories of the past. A landscape designer can help you find those special plants and incorporate them into your design.

At Aisling View we can help you design your backyard space that you and your loved ones can enjoy through the golden years!

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