Return to the Accessible Gardening Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
mother and husband totaly blind. and I need walkways!

Posted by sabradees Texas (sabradees@yahoo.com) on
Mon, Feb 2, 04 at 5:06

My mother and my husband are blind, we have just found out that mother has alzheimers so we bought a wonderful 1.5 Acre place with a cabin-type home, and will move a trailer home in for mom. My husband is extremely mobile and can learn his way around by the sounds of different windchimes, My mother on the other hand needs a smooth surface preferably with handrails ( not needed to be sturdy, just to let her know where she is). I have her home 45 feet from ours. 3/4 Acre and across a bar ditch from her good friend and neighbor and 250 feet from the BBQ pic-nic area. She will need to get around as independantly as possible while she can and I want her to feel confident anywhere on the property. BUT I need these walks to be decorative as the land and home are rustic country and I would hate to start concrete sidewalks and iron rails in my charming little yard. Any ideas? do it myself, as inexpensive as possible. Thanks in advance!
Sabradees@yahoo.com


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: mother and husband totaly blind. and I need walkways!

What about pine bark mulch on the paths and a railing of cedar poles that are small enough for her hands to grip easily? Cedar poles that have been debarked are usually quite smooth. The bark mulch has the advantage of being soft - cushions falls a bit (as I well know!)_


 o
RE: mother and husband totaly blind. and I need walkways!

A granite sand pathway might be an option for you. They look good and I see them all of the time in parks, in magazines, and installed in the yards of some local landscape designers in Austin (www.soulofthegarden.com).

It's possible you could install the granite sand yourself with some help, but you would probably want to hire out the digging to someone with a backhoe.--From experience, digging out pathways by hand is a ton of work. (My husband has worked with granite sand and he's blind.)

In most of Texas, because we don't get the deep freezes and snow other areas of the country get, we can scrape about 6" of topsoil away where we want to install our pathways.--This is a bit simplified, but it gives you an idea. If you're on clay soil, you would also need to pour road base beneath the granite sand.

I like the idea of the cedar railings Woody mentioned. Pine bark mulch is a beautiful and inexpensive option, but keep in mind it will decompose/wash away so you will have to replace it every year or so.


 o
RE: mother and husband totaly blind. and I need walkways!

Can you grow grass in that part of TX? I'm not sure about your conditions or if your in the shade or sun. If your going to invest into anything, top soil and grass seed and some mowing. It might be nice to look at only a path of green for everyone else and a soft trip proof surface for your family. Pavers can be added made from concrete and placed flush if the grass starts to die or moss could even grow. This way she might be able to feel the hard surface with her foot to know where the next one might be and not rely on the hand rails. I would build every 10 feet or less a decorataine pillar with some moasic on it with left over concrete from the pavers. She could anticipate and possible rest upon and collect herself. It would very rustic. If I knew more about what you garden was like I would be able to help you better. I saw just get something down and see what works. Soil would be better to work with in the long run. Mulch is a new ending heavy duty job. Sod would be great but make sure it at least more than a few feet wide or it will dry out anywhere.


 o
RE: mother and husband totaly blind. and I need walkways!

We have put weed barrier cloth over some of our paths and use cedar chips over it. The cedar has to be replaced periodically but I love the scent of cedar and when replaced the discarded material makes an excellent additive to the gardens. To have something soft and non slippery to feel beneath the feet might be of benefit to those with vision impairments, so the worn chips could be left on the path when more are added. However, it is essential to make sure the cloth is pinned securely into the earth or perhaps secured with landscape timbers as edging to prevent tripping over loose areas. We also have thyme edging along some of the paths. Last time the cedar was replaced I tossed it along the base of a wall and put in some thyme divisions. The thyme has spread to make a nice cover that I can stand on to work in the garden above the wall. With vision impairment, scented plants might be appreciated and putting plants of different scents and textures (lamb's ears is a good 'feely' plant) in different areas could help with orientation, such as, mint in one area, lemen scented in another, and so forth. A handrail with planting boxes or containers attached along the rail at intervals might also be beneficial for bringing the textures and fragrance of the plants up for better enjoyment and might be beneficial for orientation. Even stems of some plants have a specific structure. For your mother, it will be important that she does not wander so all of these might be beneficial. Have a circular or switchback path where she can end up at the same place she started. I have worked with both alzhiemers and visually impaired. To create a garden to give them more mobility and sense of freedom is a very positive and thoughtful objective. Please give us follow up. EP


 o
RE: mother and husband totaly blind. /more

Forgot to include having a place to sit at intervals would also add to orientation and convenience.


 o
RE: mother and husband totaly blind. and I need walkways!/rail

Example of handrails designed by husband made of welded square steel tubing set in concrete. Ours are along the steps but would work along a path.

Here is a link that might be useful: handrails


 o
RE: mother and husband totaly blind. and I need walkways!/ exampl

Example of walk way using good quality weed barrier fabric with a cover of cedar chips used as walkways through our terraces. Another example of hand rail at curve of path.

Here is a link that might be useful: walkway


 o
follow up

I am thankful for finding this site, You all have been very helpful. I already knew my husband uses diferent wind chime sounds for orientation but I never thougt about using smells! I know I am going with cedar rails, still debating on the materials for the walk itself but I'll let you all know.


 o
RE: mother and husband totaly blind. and I need walkways!

Another walkway possibility. good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: crushed rock walkway


 o
RE: mother and husband totaly blind. /more

I like this.

Here is a link that might be useful: more


 o
RE: mother and husband totaly blind. and I need walkways!

Now shreded tires are used as mulch, too. It would not decompose and would be a softer landing site. I think it comes in a number of colors, too. Something else to consider.


 o
RE: mother and husband totaly blind. and I need walkways!

sabradees-

Just interested to know what your final solution was re: paths / rails. I'm a totally blind gardener and I've been doing some searches just to see if there are any other blind gardeners out there. Built my own garden paths in two lg beds this past spring. Much smaller scale than what you are doing, but I've been very pleased with the results. I was following sq foot gardening principles, which suggests 3' wide paths between gardening areas. This concept has helped me create smaller garden beds, some of them irregular in shape, which I can access from any side.

What did I use? Newspaper under cedar chips. Disadvantage has already been mentioned ... I'll have to renovate these paths every 2 or 3 years.

Enchanted Places has it exactly right. Scent, strategic use of a "landmark" plant or structure (like a seat), are wonderful ways to help orientation. I suspect that your DH can get around well using available clues in the landscape, so the special issues are more for your Mom. Here's one idea that I don't think was covered: Use rails on both sides of the path.

Sometimes, when my blood sugar dips very low, I can get pretty confused. My mobility is v good; I average 2 to 3 miles per day with a v speedy Guide Dog, go hiking, etc. But, when the blood sugar takes an unexpected dive, I can get "lost" in my own house! Somehow ... if I can find one wall and then another immediately opposit, it triggers "hallway" in my fuzzy mind, and I can find my way to the fridge and the orange juice! Same thing happens when I'm gardening sometimes (somehow always when I forget to put the juice box in my pocket). I've been known to get "lost" in a relatively small patch of grass because I couldn't for the life of me figure out where in the heck the front sidewalk disappeared to ... it was right here a minute ago.

I've been to some state / national parks that double rail some or all of their walking paths, and its very helpful. Might be cost prohibitive, but it might help to use them in certain areas.

Thank you for providing these things for your loved ones. I, too, am fortunate in having a life-partner who helps me in so many ways.

God bless-
BA


 o
RE: mother and husband totaly blind. and I need walkways!

If she has alzheimer's, you will need something to let you know when she leaves her home. It will save her undue stress were she to become disorientated. I applaud you for taking such good care of your mother.

Barbie


 o
RE: mother and husband totaly blind. and I need walkways!

Hi
I'm visually impaired garden, husband is totally blind. We have just redone our rose garden this year and are still working on other areas of the gardens.

this is what we did for pathways. We put down cardboard, and newspapers first, then landscaping fabric, then on top we put 3/4" stone a couple of inches thick. I can hear when someone walks in thru the gate and it is great!

I used wood chips for years, but they have to be replaced every two years or so and as I have a heart condition this is getting too hard.

For the railings you could put metal posts linked by chains with links in them. Black posts with black chains for example, either swagged or pulled tight so both mother and husband could feel their way around.Every so many feet u could also hang bells on the chain rope, like tiny cow bells that would ring in the wind.

Good luck
Debbie :-)


 o
RE: mother and husband totaly blind. and I need walkways!

Debbie, excellent input especially for the gravel path and chain guide for the path. We don't have visual challenge but we put bells on our gates so we can hear when anyone enters. EP


 o
RE: mother and husband totaly blind. and I need walkways!

wow you guys are great So many ideas! This is what I did . I levelled the ground and put in landsaping cloth and black plastic edging I poured about 2 inches of pea gravel and it looks really nice. For the time being I used plain pvc pipe for the handrails untill money gets better I was hoping for smooth cedar or maybe cedar posts with big rope between but I love the idea about the chains and bells and ( windchmes) Thank you all for these wondeful ideas. Maybe I can discover helpful hints for all over the home and property not just the walkways.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Accessible Gardening Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here