Gardening is wonderful for senior wellness. Working and spending time in gardens has been shown to help seniors maintain a healthy weight, prevent lifestyle disease, and keep the body strong and limber. If that's not enough to convince you to pull on the garden gloves, consider that daily gardening is linked to better moods and a 36 percent reduction in dementia risk.
Unfortunately, gardening isn't always easy for older adults. Changing mobility and health conditions such as arthritis make many gardening tasks uncomfortable, especially in traditional landscapes where plants are positioned low to the ground. However, there are a few changes seniors can make to their garden to improve access as they age.
However, what about the costs? It's true that you can spend a lot renovating a landscape, but you don't have to. There are lots of strategies for cutting costs in the lawn and garden, and they don't necessarily require sweat equity. With each tip for designing a senior-friendly landscape, we'll explain how you can save money doing it.
When you're young, tiptoeing around the garden and working in tight spaces is no problem. As you get older, however, you need safe walkways and space to garden from an ergonomic position. Thirty-six inches of space between garden beds is adequate for most gardeners. If poured concrete and pavers aren’t in the budget, use wood chips to define pathways and prevent weeds. Many tree service companies will deliver wood chips for free; contact a tree service directly or sign up through Chip Drop
Light the Garden
The best time to work in the garden is during the mornings and evenings when temperatures are cool. However, low light conditions make it difficult for seniors with vision loss to see. Landscape lighting is an attractive solution, and it's affordable to install when you buy solar-powered lights; check out larger retailers for deals so you're not overspending. For example, search for Lowe's coupons and special sales to ensure you’re saving some money when you decide to install them.
Also, if you choose to garden during the heat of the day, wear appropriate clothing to protect yourself from the sun and take regular breaks to hydrate.
Construct Raised Beds
Raised garden beds are the best choice for senior gardeners because they don't require gardeners to bend or kneel. Some raised bed designs are also accessible for wheelchair users. However, constructing beds can be costly. Save money by purchasing reclaimed building materials from secondhand building supply stores and buying garden soil in bulk from a nursery instead of buying bagged soil.
Hand-watering is time- and labor-intensive. Instead of watering manually, install a set-and-forget watering system using drip irrigation and automatic timers. Since drip irrigation uses less water than overhead irrigation, it saves money on monthly water bills. However, setting up the irrigation system is often the most expensive component of garden design, but you can cut costs by searching sites like Coupons.com.
Choose Low-Maintenance Plants
Some gardens are more work than others. If you're trying to cultivate rare plants and plants that aren't adapted to your region, you'll have to put in much more effort to achieve results. For seniors with health limitations, a low-maintenance garden is a better choice, and Lowe's recommends a mixture of hardy perennials, dwarf shrubs, and drought-resistant plants. Mulching around plants also reduces labor by inhibiting weed growth.
While it feels great to save money, keep in mind that it's better to spend money than risk your health and safety. If you're not up for a big job like burying drip irrigation or mowing the lawn on a weekly basis, find room in your budget to hire these jobs out. You should also invest in ergonomic tools that are comfortable to use rather than buying the cheapest tools you can find. By balancing frugality with practicality, you can achieve a garden that's beautiful, cost-effective, and a joy to use.
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