Three easy innovations for Baby Boomers to achieve “low maintenance” Elderyards®

In the spring, many people turn their thoughts to being outside, and especially being outside in your own yard. But the lament I often hear is that there is no time for the yard. And if we narrow focus to the ageless Elderyard®, one thing homeowners often say they have no energy for the yard.

This seems to be the perfect dilemma. How can you have a low maintenance yard that still nourishes the spirit and provides that “vitamin N” to keep the sensory synapses in your brain perking along?

What if you considered minor changes that could allow you to handle garden chores more easily with energy left over to enjoy nature?

Here are three ways that technology can help with watering tasks. While the technologies are not specific to aging homeowners, they are wonderful environmentally friendly options to reduce yard maintenance and fit perfectly into the older adult lifestyle.

First, here’s a very simple one. Change out the knobs on your outside faucets! If you have arthritis or enlarged knuckles due to hypercalcemia, twisting motions required for cranking on and adjusting faucets can be painful and awkward. But faucet controls can easily be replaced with levers. Notice in the photo here that the faucet uses an on-off lever, and the faucet also has a two-way fitting for two hoses, each with an on-off lever.

Lever faucet 2015

Lever faucet 2015

Second, explore the new technology for water-wise irrigation.  The Environmental Protection Agency’s Water-Sense program developed specifications for weather-based irrigation controllers and soil moisture sensors. The irrigation controllers are rainfall sensitive – no more watering with your irrigation system in the middle of a rainstorm. The soil moisture sensors can determine whether or not certain parts of the yard need watering, based on guidelines set for your soils and climate. The familiar irrigation product companies Rainbird and Toro have great options to choose from. Even adding an electronic timer to a hose-and-sprinkler system can reduce the hassle of watering.

Rainbird hose timer

Rainbird hose timer

Third, consider replacing a thirsty lawn with a smaller turf area that uses a low-input grass. The agricultural science departments at universities across the United States have been researching grass species and varieties that are drought tolerant, capable of handling higher and lower temperature variations, and have a “reduced vertical growth rate.” In other words, these grasses have been found to be tougher, and they grow upward more slowly. Cut, water and fertilize less often. That fits the aim of low maintenance right there.

Try one of these this spring and see how much time and energy you can save while enjoying a glorious, satisfying yard.