Patios are a great way to enjoy outside living, especially in Australia's temperate climate. Unfortunately, many predesigned patios are not particularly accessible to people with disabilities, which is a shame because the fresh air and atmosphere of sitting in a patio is a benefit to everyone. Here are some design aspects that need to be kept in mind when designing a patio for people with disabilities.
Ramps not stairs
It is much easier for people with limited mobility to navigate ramps rather than stairs. Keep the slope as shallow as possible and the width wide enough for wheelchairs, as often people who initially use crutches or other mobility aids may over time need to use wheelchairs.
Ensure that the path leading up to the patio is also wheelchair friendly, and look at getting anti slip coatings applied on any cement or bricks on the path so that rain or dew do not make the area dangerous for someone with limited mobility.
Many assistive devices need to be charged (and going forward more and more devices will need power). A power point in the patio can allow you to stay outside while the device charges. It also allows the patio to be lit and easy to traverse, which is useful for using in lower light and makes the patio useful for longer. An emergency button can also be installed to allow users to contact either their family or emergency assistance, which can help in the case of falls.
As most mobility assistance devices are on wheels, make sure the surface of the patio is smooth and level to reduce to load on the user and any brakes. Smooth surfaces also limit the chances of trips and falls for everyone who uses the patio
Painted hand rails
For people with vision impairment, having distinct colours can help distinguish areas. Consider painting the hand rails in a glossy white to stand out against the greenery of the garden.
Room for company
While it's great to design the facilities with the disabled person in mind, it's also worth having facilities for friends and family to visit and share afternoon tea with the person with disabilities in the patio. Include some room for a small table and a bench in the patio so that you can sit outside for a while and enjoy the fresh air and ambiance.
For more information or advice, contact a business such as Perfect Patios.