8 Helpful Gardening Tips for Seniors

Earth Day

Gardening is a fun, relaxing hobby for people of any age — including baby boomers. Curating your own garden can be fulfilling and add some fresh life to your space after retirement. 

Whether you only garden on Earth Day or tend a garden year-round, it can be helpful to follow specific guidelines when gardening. Here are eight helpful tips to help you create the best, freshest garden for yourself — and your community. 

1. Protect Your Skin 

Few things are as annoying as being pricked, poked, and prodded while gardening. Retired adults will benefit from wearing thick, protective gloves while planting and digging. 

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It’s also essential to protect your skin from the sun. Sun exposure directly contributes to skin aging and health problems. Make sure you wear plenty of sunscreen as you’re outside gardening!

2. Keep Your Garden Waist-Level or Above

Older adults may benefit from gardening at the waist or chest level. Higher positioning for plants and soil can help you avoid bending over and twisting at awkward angles. 

This is especially important if you struggle with back problems, joint aches and pains, and other discomfort. Indoor waist-level gardens can be just as beautiful as outdoor ones — with the added benefit of increased accessibility. 

3. Check the Temperature Outside Each Day

It’s very important to stay safe while you’re gardening. If you’re plotting and planting in an outdoor garden, check the temperature — including the humidity levels and UV indexes — daily. 

Older adults can be more vulnerable to problems like dehydration and sun poisoning. To help you avoid these issues, check the temperature and use your judgment. If you think the day is too hot, humid, or sunny for you, stay inside that day. Your health will thank you later. 

4. Take Plenty of Breaks During Strenuous Work

Gardening can require a lot of physical exertion. You should always take plenty of breaks while working regardless of your ability level. Break up difficult gardening and weeding tasks into five- or ten-minute intervals. Once you feel overheated, sweaty, or exhausted, give your body a break. You can always return to your tasks later on. 

5. Choose Lightweight, Strong Gardening Tools

Joint problems affect retired adults at higher rates, so choosing your gardening tools wisely is essential. There are plenty of tools available with brightly colored handles and lightweight designs. 

You want your gardening tools to be durable and robust without being heavy to hold. That weight can make gardening more cumbersome than relaxing, so always pick lightweight designs over heavier gardening tools. Bright colors will help you avoid losing your tools. It’s easy to forget where you place things, especially if you’re in a hurry — choose tools made with very visible colors. 

6. Choose Low-Maintenance Plants

While gardening can be fun and relaxing, it can also become a chore if your plants require a lot of maintenance and fuss. Lower-maintenance plants usually only need to be watered once daily and can thrive in various indoor or outdoor environments. It may be helpful to research the climate you live in — what kinds of plants thrive in your area’s level of sunlight, rain, and humidity? The backs of seed packets usually tell you this information, but the internet can also be a great resource. 

7. Work on Even, Stable Ground

No one wants to fall over or stumble while trying to create the perfect garden. Ensure your gardening area is even and flat to avoid trips and falls. This is also an added benefit of raised garden beds; they require less movement and reduce your risk of falling. Gardening should be enjoyable, not dangerous. 

8. Engage All of Your Senses

Gardening is a wonderful sensory experience for baby boomers and retired adults. Make sure you enjoy it to the fullest! Engage your senses as you’re gardening: your sense of touch, smell, sight, and even taste can guide you through the planting process. Research has shown that older adults benefit from sensory activities like gardening, so don’t hesitate to take complete advantage of your senses in the garden. 

Make Gardening Post-Retirement a Wonderful Experience

Building and caring for your own garden brings a sense of pride and joy into your life. By following these simple tips, you can ensure you have the best experience possible. 

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