Accessible Backyard Design Process
There are a few things you should consider during the design process for an accessible backyard. A backyard is an extension of your home that you should be able to enjoy from both inside and out.
When you design your yard, consider how accessible you want it to be. Before you begin, ask these questions:
- Are you catering to a disabled or elderly person?
- Do you have young children that need to be kept safe?
- How big is your yard?
- Do you need to create any paths?
- Are you planning to have an outdoor kitchen?
- Will you need extra lighting for safety and convenience?
Before you begin any major projects, sit down and make a draft of how you want your yard to look. Define areas for eating, play and relaxation. Decide where you want paths and if those paths need to be lit. You also need to layout where you want flower beds, trees, gates and patios. Once the areas are defined, you can find the best products for completing the yard.
When considering accessibility, you need to consider the type of path you will use. The easiest paths to use are made of concrete. These paths can be coated to resist weather and to be slip proof. They can also be made with elaborate designs etched directly into the concrete. Colors can be chosen to make the concrete match the patterns in your yard. Gravel is another path that is easy to use. However, falling on gravel can lead to very cut up hands. Some people use sawdust, but this material is harder to navigate with a stroller or wheelchair.
If you have a large yard, you may want to use custom lighting. LED lights are becoming popular to use in backyards. They can easily be strung through posts and trees to provide excellent lighting along the paths. You can also invest in lamps to set wherever you would like, lighting several different areas.
If you like, you can install an outdoor kitchen or fireplace. These appliances make it comfortable to be outside, and eliminate the need to work in a hot stuffy kitchen. If it is possible, these additions should be close to your house, so you can easily run inside if you need anything. When you are designing your backyard, you should at least consider these possibilities. However, you do not want to add these appliances if you feel they would be a burden or would not follow the general theme of your yard.
Ramps make it easy to move from a patio onto a lawn or pathway. They prevent falls and make movement between areas more enjoyable.
Once you have defined the area and decided what you need, it is time for final measurements. Making your backyard perfect will take time, plant trees and prepare for large installations. Once everything is in place, measure your yard again to be sure you have all the room you need and begin working.