Landscape design | Older people

Care home garden - Tim Lynch Associates

Care home garden - Tim Lynch Associates

The Sensory Trust has a short piece, titled Landscape design for older people, which covers some of the key points to consider when designing inclusive spaces, be they public parks or private gardens.

  • Reduction in mobility
  • Reduction in reach
  • Visual impairment
  • Sensitivity to weather extremes
  • Impairment of mental faculties
  • Erosion of confidence

There’s a useful table of design solutions reproduced from ‘Landscape Design for Elderly and Disabled People’ by Peter Thoday and Jane Stoneham (1994).

The OPENspace research centre is in the middle of I’DGO TOO, a four-year research project on outdoor access for older people.

‘The I’DGO (Inclusive Design for Getting Outdoors) … overall aim to identify the most effective ways of ensuring that the outdoor environment is designed inclusively and with sensitivity to the needs and desires of older people, to improve their quality of life.’

‘The implications of the findings will be important for policy-makers, planners, designers and other professionals working in the urban environment, as well as users of that environment.’

And background information on a 2009 participation project run by Northern Architecture. Tyneside residents were invited to attend a series of workshops ‘to explore how the design of the built environment impacts on the quality of life of older people’, with the intention that designers, planners and local authorities are aware of the needs and concerns of older residents.

And finally a couple of case studies from Tim Lynch Associates. The practice has over 25 years of experience in sensory garden design for retirement developments, nursing homes and alzheimer gardens.

1. Royal Star & Garter – dementia and special needs sensory garden
Different coloured paving to provide a feeling of walking between places
Low gates to break up a walk and provide a sense of purpose
Sensory garden
Seating, sculpture and sun shade

2. Fleet – care home
Wrought iron arches, fencing panels and mature evergreen hedging give a sense of distance and interest on a smallish site
Pergola seating, garden club area, patio, shade garden

Tim Lynch Associates also produces and sells a series of special needs garden design packs.

ESI references:



One Response to “Landscape design | Older people”

  1. esieditor Says:

    Interesting bldgblog post on how New York will be re-designed into an “age-friendly” city.

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