Spring is here, bringing with it plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy your backyard. But for people with mobility issues, this can be easier said than done.
That’s why we want to spend some time today talking about ways to make your backyard – from decks to patios to walkways – more accessible.
Here are a few ways to make your backyard for accessible this spring:
1. Spaces and paths
Everyone wants a smooth, level place to sit during backyard gatherings, and people who use wheelchairs are no exception. Wheelchairs need about five feet of space in which to turn around. Ideally, you should aim for more than that, with spaces scattered around the area.
Your yard should also include an accessible pathway to let people get from your driveway to the yard, and the yard into your home.
A wheelchair-friendly path should be about 42 inches wide and smooth, with no gravel, mulch or paving stones. These materials can be difficult for wheelchair users as well as people using canes or crutches. Concrete pathways offer a fine solution: they’re durable, they’re flat and they prevent slipping.
Make your guests who use wheelchairs feel comfortable at your outdoor tables by making sure there is enough room for them pull up their chairs.
If you’re setting up lawn chairs, make sure you’ve left enough space for a wheelchair so that guests can be a part of the gathering.
3. Getting indoors
A door with an entrance that’s at least three feet wide will allow wheelchair users to get indoors, whether they need to use your bathroom or want to help in the kitchen.
A low threshold, open spaces and easy bathroom access – the door here should be wide as well – will make things easier for your guests.
Installing a ramp can make it easier for wheelchair users. It should use the lowest slope – also referred to as incline – possible, and be at least 36 inches wide.
4. Accessible gardening
Growing your own fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers can be one of life’s great pleasures, one that shouldn’t be out of reach just because of a disability.
By using raised beds – 24 inches for people in a sitting position –you can have access to the things growing in your yard with having to leave your chair.
5. Enjoying your deck
Let’s say you don’t have a huge back yard, but you do have a nice shady deck where people can relax, eat dinner and enjoy quiet summer evenings.
There are adjustments you can make to your deck to allow you – or your guests – to continue to access it, regardless of disability.
One way is by installing a stair lift. While these devices are often associated with indoor use, there are external stair lifts designed specifically for outdoor use.
A second option is the platform lift. Also, known as a porch lift, a platform lift lets people who use wheelchairs or scooters easily enter or exit a home, offering barrier-free access to your deck.
If you’re interested in either of these options for accessing your deck this year, Pennsylvania Stair Lifts can help. We’ve spent years helping Philadelphia area customers get more access to their homes with products such as stair lifts and platform lifts.
Contact us today to find out how we can help you or your loved ones enjoy your backyard this season.