Setting up an automatic watering system

Gardening tips for older people

There's no need to slow down if you stick with these handy tips for older gardeners.

Getting older doesn’t mean you can’t garden like you used to – it’s all about finding new ways to old things.

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Heavy lifting, digging and other laborious tasks are best avoided, but with these out the way you can devote your time other tasks like seed sowing, deadheading and small planting projects.

Don’t discount houseplants either. There’s an enormous variety of indoor plants that are easily available to buy, from shade-loving philodendrons and Boston ferns, to plants like the Chinese money plant (Pilea peperomioides) that you can forever take cuttings from to give to friends and family.

As for sun, take a look at some of our favourite houseplants for sunny spots.

Check out these handy gardening tips for older people – we think they’ll come in handy for less able people, too.

There are lots of reliable bulbs you can plant that will come back year after year.

Raise up your beds

Bending down can become more of an arduous task as we age, but you can get around it by gardening in large containers and raised beds. Get someone to do any heavy lifting and other tricky tasks for you, then plant up as you wish. Find out more about the raised beds you could create.

Watering plants in a large container
Watering plants in a large container

Water less

Watering cans can be surprisingly heavy and, if you have a lot of plants to get round, watering can become tiresome. Setting up an automatic watering system is a good way to get around this, and there are lots of kits to choose from, usually including a timer to suit your needs. You could also position water butts around the garden so you don’t need to travel far to refill.

Setting up an automatic watering system
Setting up an automatic watering system

Create more seating areas

The more seating areas you have in the garden, the more spots you’ll have to take a little break while you’re gardening. It’ll also provide you with different angles of the garden – perfect for spotting old blooms, weeds or even planning new areas.

A white cast-iron bench in a patio garden
A white cast-iron bench in a patio garden

Plant lots of bulbs

There are lots of reliable bulbs you can plant that will come back year after year, their clumps gradually expanding. Good choices include snowdrops, daffodils and alliums, while most tulip varieties will require replanting each year.

An array of purple alliums
An array of purple alliums

Grow and eat superfoods

Homegrown fruit and veg is undoubtedly tastier than anything from the shops. There’s lots you could grow, so consider ‘superfoods’ to help narrow down what to grow. Spinach is good for bone strength, broccoli for vitamins A and C, beetroot to boost energy levels and potatoes for vitamins C and B6. Discover ways to mix edible and ornamental plants.

Picking spinach leaves
Picking spinach leaves

Use the right tools

There are lots of gardening tools with simple adaptations to make them easier to use, which is particularly useful if your hands aren’t as strong as they once were. A comfy kneeler is an essential and some have handles if you find getting up from the ground tricky.

Kneeling on a cushioned kneeling pad to garden more comfortably
Kneeling on a cushioned kneeling pad to garden more comfortably

Grow low-maintenance plants

There are lots of low maintenance plants that will happily grow away with little assistance. By planting these in your beds and borders, they’ll help to smother weeds and reduce the amount of pulling and uprooting you need to do. Some of the best low-maintenance plants include evergreen shrubs, hardy geraniums and sedums. Take a look at these hardy geranium planting combinations for ideas.

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Purple hardy geraniums and white feverfew
Purple hardy geraniums and white feverfew

Be less tidy

Not every weed need be uprooted. Most will have some form of benefit to wildlife, so leave some areas of grass long and focus on removing the most troublesome weeds, like bindweed. It’s also a good idea to keep a look out for invasive plants like Japanese knotweed.

Bindweed growing up pink persicaria flowerstems
Bindweed growing up pink persicaria flowerstems

Fill your window boxes

Window boxes are quick and easy to plant up, and just as simple to look after. Check out some of our favourite plants for window boxes for ideas and inspiration.

Getting older doesn’t mean you can’t garden like you used to – it’s all about finding new ways to old things.

Heavy lifting, digging and other laborious tasks are best avoided, but with these out the way you can devote your time other tasks like seed sowing, deadheading and small planting projects.

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