Christmas is over, the New Year is now 2010, and for many of us snow is a regular guest. We've passed the shortest day of the year which means the days are getting longer and the gardening magazines are keeping the post office employees very busy. As members of the Sandwich Generation it may not be just our own yards we're concerned about. As our senior parents are getting older, yard chores may be getting more difficult. Now might be a good time to talk to them about ways to adjust their landscaping designs in order to help them simplify their outside chores.
On a good weather day, take a walk around their yard with them and ask if there are any plants they no longer want. Fruit trees that don't get picked, rose bushes gone totally wild, etc. My grandparents kept their garden up until they went to be with the Lord but many other seniors I've known chose to "redecorate their yards" in a simpler manner by making minor (or major) tweaks to their landscaping designs. Of course, this discussion needs to be done with loving sensitivity. If they're not ready to make these changes yet, perhaps encouraging them to hire a gardener could help. Then again, you may be surprised to find they were already thinking about it and just didn't know how to start.
It can be a fun project for them to think about and help plan, even though you or a gardener may have to do most of the work. While you're busy making those plans, you might want to think about adding landscape curbing to any trees, bushes, and flower beds. These can help reduce the amount of weeding needed, make it easier to mow and give the yard a fresh clean look. This kind of project will make it easier for your aging parents to maintain their yards and, when their health requires them to sell the house, they'll be a nice selling perk.
Whether you decide to do a total remodel of their landscaping designs or just make some simple changes to the yard like adding concrete curbing and removing overgrown, undermaintained plants, be sure your parents stay fully involved in the process. They'll be happier with the end result, which will make you happier as well.