March 5, 2020
With mobility being an issue, elderly and disabled people spend significant time confined to their homes, so creating a cosy and relaxing private environment is crucial for their well-being. If outdoor space is available, the opportunity to create a nice oasis for relaxation comes easier. With the proper arrangements, a small outdoor space can provide a much-needed escape for people with low mobility as it has been well documented that staying indoors for prolonged periods can affect physical and mental health.
Here are our main suggestions for creating a relaxing outdoor space on your accessible property.
The main joy of having an outdoor space is the ability to transfer some daily activities outside, such as having a meal or a drink, reading or entertaining guests. Since many people, especially in urban areas, don’t have a large outdoor space, they feel tempted to crowd it with furniture, equipment or decorations so it can serve multiple functions. However, for elderly or disabled people, a crammed outdoor space can pose difficulties. For them, the seating area needs to be as spacious as possible, with plenty of room for a wheelchair for example. If the outdoor space is small, the seating area can be restricted to a single comfy chair or sofa and a retractable table. The goal is to ensure that there are wide corridors between furniture pieces for easy mobility.
A proper design with the right elements and aesthetics can significantly impact well-being, increasing the feelings of comfort and serenity that an outdoor space should exude. To become a true oasis, the space must imitate a natural environment. Potted plants, outdoor fountains or fire pits are the most powerful elements that give an outdoor space character and contribute to the atmosphere of tranquillity that the design should aim for. Both fountains and fire pits have a decorative role as they come in many styles and sizes, but they also have more subtle benefits. The fire warms and lights up the space while running water has a de-stressing, restorative effect. Since a fire pit is more difficult to operate, a fountain is much more suitable for an accessible property.
Well-chosen outdoor lighting can set a great mood for relaxation and make it easier to spend time outside comfortably in the late evening or night. Good illumination is also important for some activities like dining or reading. Besides its functional role, a lighting installation can have a decorative purpose if it includes items such as glowing lanterns, candles or twinkling lights, which are easy to hang and create a beautiful glow. A key tip to have in mind is that in accessible housing, the lighting system must be easy to control by someone with low mobility and thus include features such as noise activation or remote control.
Not only that it’s difficult to move around in a cluttered outdoor space with too much furniture and other things lying around, but a chaotic environment is hardly inviting. On an accessible property, an outdoor space can be a great asset, but only if it’s well designed and meant to elevate tranquillity and comfort.