No matter how old you are (or feel!), gardening should be a hobby you can enjoy and be able to reap the myriad of health benefits associated with it. These tips from Stannah will ensure you make the most of your garden – with minimum effort.
Use the best equipment
Gardening equipment is one area where you shouldn’t skimp. Many tools can make light work of heavy tasks, which can reduce physical stress for older people. These can include easy-grip, lightweight tools, long-reach handles or extensions, garden kneelers, rolling garden seats, retractable wheelbarrows and hanging baskets, and cordless power tools.
Raise your beds
Raised beds are much easier to maintain and require less bending or kneeling. Use railway sleepers to build them which are less prone to rot, then fill the beds with quality top soil and well-rotted manure or garden compost. When shaping your borders, keep them narrow so your plants are easier to access and maintain, or if you have pre-existing wide borders, consider inserting a back-border pathway.
To deter weeds, especially around shrubs and perennials, lay a weed-suppressing membrane beneath garden borders and spread chipped bark as a mulch over exposed soil in borders to keep your workload down.
Pick your plants well
Focus on planting low-maintenance crops and plants. Bulbs make for beautiful displays, and once you’ve got them planted not much else needs doing to them – bulbs such as daffodils, snowdrops and tulips are easy-to-manage and rewarding plants to grow.
Once you’ve got them established, certain shrubs such as hydrangea, lavender, rosemary and daphnes all require very little watering. Similarly, ornamental grasses are easy to grow and can add real shape and texture to your borders – deciduous ones only require cutting back in the spring and evergreens only need to have dead material removed.
Some plants take more work than others, such as bedding plants like pansies which need replacing frequently due to their short flowering life, rapidly-spreading plants which require you to keep on top of them to keep them in place, hedges require lots of pruning, and potted plants dry out quickly and require lots of watering.
You can also dabble in vertical planting with walls and trellis spaces, using low-maintenance climbers such as jasmine and honeysuckle to add further interest and aroma to your garden.
Consider hard landscaping
If you’re tired of mowing your lawn, consider replacing grass with paving areas. Ensure these areas are laid with non-slip stone slabs and are level to avoid trip hazards. Install seating in these paved areas so you can easily take a break from tending to your garden. Or, if you can afford it, employ a professional lawn maintenance company to take care of that job while you enjoy the more pleasant ones.
Transform outdoor steps into wide, gradual-sloping paths – this is particularly important if you need wheelchair access. Install pathway lighting and spotlights around your borders and raised beds to add interest and extend the time you can safely enjoy your garden.