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Tips on enjoying the garden at any age

As the weather warms up it’s time to get out in the garden. But as the years pass ambitions change and bodies need more help, so we’ve put together some tips for getting the most out of time outside safely, at any age.

This article is provided by House of Bath.

Getting older can make some aspects of gardening a bit difficult. Let’s take a walk from the back door to the shed and back and see what changes might help.

Avoiding slipping and stumbling

Back doors often lead to steps and hard surfaces. Putting in a rail or maybe a shallow extra outdoor step to help anyone who has problems with steps anywhere in the garden is helpful. It might be worth looking at other ideas like rubber treads. Additionally if there’s decking or a patio, you can check that the surface isn’t slippery in the wet. That’s true for paths as well.

It’s all too easy to stumble on uneven lawns, especially in the seasons when squirrels are desperately hiding their treasure trove or trying to dig it up again. Checking the lawn regularly is worthwhile, and if it’s very uneven then rolling it or even relaying might be a safe option. Keeping the grass down can be hard work, so getting in someone reliable to cut it regularly might be an answer, or even considering doing away with the lawn altogether.

Good footwear is essential too. Nipping out in bedroom slippers might not be advisable for anyone a little unsteady. Better to have garden shoes that are firmly attached or some wellington boots. Brides have been known to wear wellies to their weddings nowadays so they’re all the rage, and there are plenty of attractive ones to choose from.

There’s nothing like pottering about into the sunset, deadheading a rose here and picking off a caterpillar there. If the dusky light becomes a problem, then the wide variety of garden lights available, such as the range from the House of Bath, could help to mark the way.

Reaching out and down

Ageing does tend to play havoc with knees, hips and other joints. Getting down to the ground gets harder, so bringing the garden up to manageable height can make life a lot easier. Raised beds are far more accessible for anyone who finds bending difficult as well as wheelchair users.

With a bit of thought you can easily fill the flower beds with plants that mostly look after themselves. Colourful shrubs, roses and perennials can look terrific on just a little therapeutic pruning and feeding.

Anyone taking blood thinners as medication will also bruise and bleed more easily, so a stout pair of gardening gloves are a good investment as well as protective clothing when doing tougher jobs like dealing with brambles.

In the tool shed

There are plenty of tools available on the market to help gardeners get to grips with what’s going on with the soil. Long-handed tools to save bending and easy-to-grip tools for weaker wrists can all be found fairly easily.

Sheds are a great place to fill with useful stuff, but an untidy shed is a bit of a hazard. A regular turn out makes what’s still in use much more accessible. Flower pots can’t be recycled very easily but some garden centres operate a scheme for people to return pots so others can use them. Snails have an annoying habit of eating the labels on containers so anything that is no longer recognisable can be disposed of with care. And any unwanted tools can be given away on free sites or sold at car boot sales.

A well-earned rest

Some of us will want to work hard in the garden after retirement. Others will simply want to relax more. Either way there’ll be plenty of reason to simply sit and enjoy. Good, strong and comfortable furniture that can stay in situ is a great option, although it may need protecting from the elements and refurbishing from time to time.

Hanging baskets can really brighten up a seating area and for those that don’t want to create their own displays they can be bought ready-made. For added interest, bird feeders, a water feature and garden statuary can all bring a sense of peace and beauty to a garden.

A final thought. Older skin is thinner skin and needs care. An awning over the patio or an easy-to-open sunshade as well as a good sunscreen can help to protect skin from burning and worries about skin cancer. That’s true too for hats to protect faces and scalps without a full head of hair to protect them.

Many gardeners love to evolve their gardens over time. Building in features that mean people can enjoy being outside for as many years as possible can with thought just be a continuation of that gentle evolution.

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