Garden redesign and planning for your winter years
There is an excellent post on the Winter Garden forum by luseal on the winter garden ("TO MAKE GARDENING EASIER AS YOU AGE, PLANT A GARDEN TO LOOK GOOD IN THE WINTER"), and how it relates to the sort of garden one might want in one's later years. It is quite a nice piece of writing --a sensitive essay on aging and gardening. It is now part of the FAQ for that forum and well worth reading.
Also, in February's House and Garden magazine there is a wonderful article about Penelope Hobhouse' new garden in Dorset. She is planning the garden for her years to come. She is now 74. In reply to the interviewer's question about the garden being a lot of work for someone her age, she replies that she has planned it so that as the shrubs become larger, they will shade out the perennials which will die. She says "I am just going to let this happen. Gradually, over the next ten years or so, the garden will just be green. The evergreens and shrubs can hold the garden together without the flowers. I am going to be 74 years old, and I have a man helping me only one day a week. I've seen older people despair over their gardens or move because they can't cope. I want to stay here, and I think this garden is a good example to people."
I don't often enough think 10 or more years out into the future of the garden and its owners. We are such a mobile country, too; houses and gardens change hands so frequently. But for some, this could be an important part of redesigning a garden.
Have you considered this aspect of garden design when re-designing a garden with older people? When redoing your own gardens? What have you come up with?