Hand of elderly man planting seeds.
Gardening Health through gardening Senior gardening

Love Gardening? Don’t Give Up Your Passion During Your Senior Years

The advantages of gardening in your senior years and how to go about it.

By Suzie Wilson

Of all of the hobbies you could have in your senior years, few are as rewarding or enriching as gardening. Spending time in the garden has many health benefits, from boosting your mental health to increasing your body’s oxygen intake. What’s more, gardening has been shown to help you lose weight! It can also benefit your wallet as gardening creates huge curb appeal. Most pre-appraisal checklists include planting flowers, mulching, and other gardening tasks.

Below, we’ll share a few secrets on how to continue to enjoy the flowers, trees, and breeze without straining your back or your budget. But first, we need to discuss something important: safety. Laidback Gardener presents some tips you should keep in mind.

Safety

Before you grab a spade, make sure that you can accomplish your chosen task; your doctor can help you make that determination. Consider wearing supports for areas of your body that aren’t quite up to snuff, such as your lower back. Performance Health suggests doing warm-up stretches before you venture outside, as well as pivoting instead of twisting your torso when lifting to prevent excess pressure on your spinal discs. Also, if you need to be near the ground, use a pad to kneel on. 

If you find that you can’t do it all, bring in a professional gardener to either handle the heavy workload or to help you design an easy-to-maintain space. A gardening expert can give you tips on native plants, build an elevated garden, or make sure that your walkways are clean and even, which can help prevent falls. Other ways to stay safe outdoors are to drink plenty of water, wear the right clothing, and protect your eyes. 

Adapt and Enjoy

Putting your hands in soil exposes your body to Mother Nature’s natural antidepressant. However, if you find it difficult to bend and kneel, you may be afraid that you will miss out on the perks of digging in the dirt. Fortunately, you do not have to. As HGTV explains, there are many accessible gardening techniques that will allow you to adapt to your changing abilities. One example is to add a soaker hose so you can water easily. This will eliminate the need to grip onto a sprayer nozzle, which may be uncomfortable if you have arthritis.

Raised bed with sign saying "My Garden".
With a raised bed, you can garden without bending or kneeling. Photo: congerdesign, pixabay.com

Another wonderful option is to switch from in-ground gardening to container gardening. You can grow everything from vegetables and herbs to decorative plants and flowers from your back deck. Further, containers are portable, and you have a lot of design flexibility when selecting one. To minimize time kneeling and bending, also consider a vertical (wall) garden or raised planting beds.

Landscaping

If you look at your entire lawn as a garden, you may need to get even more creative when it’s time to design the perfect outdoor space. Landscaping on a budget does not mean sacrificing style or the enjoyability of your outdoor entertaining areas. Groundcovers, xeriscaping (water-efficient landscaping), and even a decorative statue or two are affordable ways to enhance your property without a lot of maintenance. Adding native plants, low-maintenance lawn, and evergreens will also go a long way toward ensuring your yard remains at its best all year long.

A well-manicured lawn, as well as any other repairs and additions, can add value to your home, but that’s far from all. You will also create a better habitat for local wildlife, reduce erosion, and increase the overall visual appeal of your neighborhood. Even better, at the end of the day, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that the love you’ve put into your home can be seen by all.

Dirt, sunshine, and a cool breeze are all things that you will find outside in the garden. Coupled with the possibility of fresh flowers or organic fruits and vegetables, spending time outdoors is a hobby that will pay off in both mental and physical health. It doesn’t matter how old you are or whether you can still handle a shovel—there are ways to enjoy the things you love. So, don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty or to call in a professional for more advice.

Are you looking for more informative articles that can help your garden grow? Be sure to check out the other content offered by Laidback Gardener.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

6 comments on “Love Gardening? Don’t Give Up Your Passion During Your Senior Years

  1. Raised beds certainly help as do garden seats, but it is still challenging although definitely rewarding. My other best friends are ice packs. 🙂

  2. Time is definitely not kind as every year some tasks just seem harder. Great tips on how to adjust to keep things going. My heating pad is my best friend especially in the cooler weather of Fall.

  3. By the end of summer I’m too tired to garden anymore. One trick that has made fall gardening easier for me is to plant fall-blooming perennials along the edge of my garden. It’s a one and done kind of thing – once planted you’ll have fall blooms for many years to come with minimal work. I planted easy care mums, asters, and dianthus along the border and I couldn’t be happier with the results. As the center of the garden dies out the edge becomes center stage. And I literally don’t have to do anything if I don’t want do, perhaps just some pinching back of the mums in July.

Leave a Reply to Judy@NewEnglandGardenAndThread Cancel reply

Sign up for the Laidback Gardener blog and receive articles in your inbox every morning!

%d bloggers like this: