Posts Tagged ‘landscape’

I put together a little video about my latest skiing adventure. I hope you get as much chuckle from watching it as I did making it!


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One thing that I learned very quickly after my injury is that my stay in the hospital and therapy facility had spoiled me rotten. I had become very accustomed to wide hallways and doorways, smoothly tiled floors, accessible bathrooms, break rooms, lounge areas, eating facilities, etc. Then guess what? I went home to narrow halls, doorways I could barely squeak through, carpet, things in cupboards I could not reach, bathrooms that were completely unusable, and all that was after dealing with getting into our house! I had to have ramps built all around our house just so I could get in and out. The place looked more like a skateboard park rather than a home.

When Wendy and I moved from Maine to South Carolina after my injury, we rented an apartment for two years while we carefully searched for a home that could be remodeled to meet our needs. We decided that we wanted a ranch style home. We started with a realtor, but after three months we canceled, and began the search on our own. I’m not sure if we were clear in what we were looking for or not, but the realtor could not grasp that we were looking for a ranch style home on a flat lot. Just a warning here, to be sure and get what you need–do not be sold on something you are not looking for because of a good sales pitch.

We finally found a home in an older neighborhood that would meet our needs without massive amounts of remodeling. But even with this, there was still much to be done. For the next few weeks, I will take you through our home, and the changes that we made to make it accessible while attempting to maintain the appearance of the original home. One thing that we wanted was to keep our home looking like other homes in the neighborhood and not like we had built a rehab facility.

So let’s start on the outside. Our home is built with a crawl space and is on a lot with a slight slope to it. By taking advantage of the natural slope of the land, and with a little bit of creative landscaping, you can see from the pictures that we did not have to add any ramps to the outside of the house. The original porch area in the front was about two feet high with a couple of steps off a walkway. Rather than adding a ramp to the porch, we redid the landscaping, and built the front yard up to be level with the porch. So we now have a walkway that runs level from the driveway to the front porch allowing me access through the front door without a ramp.

On the back door we were once again able to take advantage of the slope of the land and construct a new deck that has a four foot wide walkway which we blended in with our driveway. There is a slight pitch to it, but it is almost imperceptible. The only “ramp” structure that we have is a small ramp inside our garage that is about six inches high. The two reasons why we wanted things done this way were for design aesthetics and resale value. We wanted our home to be appealing to any potential buyer without them thinking, “I like the home, but I don’t want to have to remove this, and this, and this,” etc.

The pictures will give you an idea of what we did. Everyone will have their own ideas, of course, in designing their home and making it accessible. The important thing to remember is to think things through very well the first time. Any landscaping or remodeling is expensive, so you want it done right the first time. So start reading, looking at websites of accessible design, talking to architects for ideas/estimates and don’t rush the process. A little inconvenience in the beginning will be worth it in the end, so that you get what works best for you without any “oops.”

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