There are millions of people in the world who live with some degree of sight loss either from birth, or caused by an injury or old age. All of those people want both their indoor and outdoor spaces to be completely safe and secure so that they can be independent in them.
When it comes to outdoor spaces, visually impaired individuals need a space that’s free of clutter, well-lit and well-marked. Designing such a space doesn’t have to be difficult and expensive. It only needs some careful planning and a few useful tips that will allow their inhabitants to live and move more comfortably outside. Here’s how you can do it for your outdoor space.
Use Color as a Guide
Many legally blind people can see up to a certain point, and they can see bright colors and changes in lighting. These can help them as guides through their outdoor space.
The use of bright contrasting colors is especially helpful to partially-sighted people to differentiate between different areas and spaces. For instance, garden paths can be made out of red or orange pavers to provide a good contrast with green lawns.
You can also opt for outdoor furniture in different colors and textures to prevent bumping into it. If you have a green thumb, make sure all of your gardening tools are painted in bright colors that will make locating and identifying them much easier
Good organization and tidiness is the key safety element for people with complete blindness or visual impairments. If everything is nicely organized it’s easier to remember where everything is located.
You must always know where all your sharp gardening tools are, and you can even consider creating a database of your garden inventory. If you love to take care of your plants, you can create neat little labels for them in Braille or use vivid colors to make signs.
This way, each individual plant will get exactly the right care. Also, always know exactly where your fire extinguishers and telephones are when you’re outside.
In order to eliminate as many hazards as possible, make sure that your front yard and your garden are well maintained to avoid any inconvenience. Your outdoor paths should be wide and perfectly flat. As soon as you notice some bumps or broken pavers or bricks, have them removed and replaced. Additionally, try to keep your greenery well maintained, and avoid letting your plants overgrow and cause obstructions in the path or on the stairs. It’s way easier to move around without all these obstacles blocking your way.
Another thing you should consider is removing all cables and watering hoses from pathways. They can be hard to spot if you leave them on the ground, and you can easily trip or slip on them.
Lastly, you can secure the slippery surfaces with non-slip rubber matting and be sure that no matter the weather, the outdoor living space will be hazard-free.
Get Smart with Lighting
Visually impaired people greatly benefit from good lighting, so make sure to incorporate it in your outdoor spaces. If nothing else, at least illuminate your pathway and the entrance.
Also, pay extra attention to your stairs. Make sure to install LED lighted handrails and lights on each step. The best solution for your stairs are linear lights that are easy to install and offer great illumination.
Also, use better lighting near your outdoor furniture to make it easier to spot and avoid it.
The Importance of Handrails
Every set of stairs in your outdoor space should have sturdy handrails. You can even use linear lights and gently illuminate the handrail so you can spot it more easily.
Another great way to ensure outdoor safety is to put up rope handrails along your garden paths or use them to make barriers. Ropes look amazing in any garden, plus they can give you an additional sense of security.
If you implement these safety tips into your outdoor space, you or your visually impaired family members can enjoy it without any worries.
About the Author
Catherine is a passionate home design consultant from Melbourne. She loves making homes beautiful and buildings sustainable, but she also like sharing her advice and knowledge with people. That is why she is also a regular contributor to the Smoothdecorator blog. Besides all this, she loves reading and enjoys a superhero movie from time to time.