Retirement housing - designing age-friendly landscapes

Over the years we have advised numerous retirement housing schemes on the design of environments to actively encourage older people to get out, enjoy their gardens and connect with their local places and communities. We have designed these landscapes to provide interest through the year, a good mix of sensory highlights and different spaces to accommodate different outdoor activities, from sitting out on a sunny day to a game of croquet on the lawn.

High interest sheltered housing landscape

Work has been commissioned by Housing Associations, such as Anchor Housing, and Retirement Security Limited, the first company to develop sheltered housing for frail elderly people.

The decision to move to sheltered housing is usually linked with a desire of an older person to reduce the amount of home upkeep and worry, and this often includes the garden. In fact, in interviews with older residents we have found that a decline in the state of someone's garden can be a significant incentive to move - people have said the garden was a public statement of their ability to cope.

Our design work has focused on developing landscapes that provide interest through the year, reminding residents of seasonal change and inviting them to go out and explore, even during times when the weather isn't providing much encouragement.