You gotta admit, most of us have family everywhere this time of year. This week, take a quick break from visiting and eating and laughing and eating and praying and eating and celebrating and… Check how well your Elderyarding® landscape works with visitors of all ages. Here are four things to consider.
First, is it easy for everyone to find your house? It used to be simple to give directions – we’re the yellow house three blocks from the Piggly Wiggly. Now most of us are housed in subdivisions with restrictive regulations managed by homeowners associations. You may not be able to paint your front door purple, but big red pots with burgundy bows filled with white pansies beside the garage can be an even better cue. Think of contrasting, semi-portable movable items that can be seen from the street as your landmarks.
Next, how easy is it for visitors to move from their cars to your front door? Make sure there’s plenty of hard surface for someone with arthritis to maneuver out from their car. Notice whether the outdoor lights illuminate the walkway evenly all the way to the door. Check that the walkway is wide enough and that stair edges are visible. Check out the hints I’ve written about previously.
Stand in your driveway where visitors would stop and look around you. Is there a welcoming combination of plants in colors that emphasize the holidays? Notice that you’ve filled last year’s empty spot with a red-berried shrub, and it’s looking splendid. Admire your decision to paint the fence white and have a mix of shrubs installed in front of it. Now the deciduous shrubs are bare-limbed, with their dark bark in lovely tracery against the pale background.
Now, check the views from inside. If you’ve planned to spend time on the patio around the fire pit or with the outdoor heaters, have you also planned for seasonal color right outside the patio door to entice folks outside? And during the day, visitors will likely hang out in the kitchen and dining room. If you’ve included this time of year and your holiday events in your Elderyard® design, you know that the pictures painted by nature just outside the windows will be a constant occasional draw. Everyone will benefit from glimpses of sky or clouds, of green needle-clothed branches that remind friends and family of other happy times together and relieving stress. In fact, a bit of connection with nature may even help reduce friction and help visitors to rub along together better.
If your landscape isn’t perfect, you don’t have time to change it now, and you certainly won’t have time to plan changes! But take a few minutes here and there to notice what could be different. You’ll be much better prepared to make the minor adjustments that cause your visitors to say, “Oh, your yard is so lovely – and comfortable. How do you do it?”