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How to Create a Barrier Free Patio

Summer is fast approaching which means lots of evenings outside enjoying the warmth. If you are an Arizonan like us then you know the love hate relationship we have with the summer months. Scorching temperatures make our winters amazing but the summers pretty brutal. Regardless us desert dwellers love to be outside as much as possible and will be using our patios as long as we have shade, misters, and temperatures under 105. Here are our best tips to create a Barrier Free patio so that everybody can enjoy the summer fun.


Getting outside

First thing is first, we need to get outside! Permanent or temporary ramps are the safest way for people in wheelchairs to independently get outside. Some homes are lucky enough to be built with a zero entry threshold which makes the outside flooring height the same as the inside eliminating the need for any kind of step down with a ramp. This also extends to walkways and patios. Having accessible pathways around the yard makes the outdoors more enjoyable and safer. Look into replacing gravel or dirt with pavers, wood planks or concrete.

For those homes with a threshold, step down, or multiple steps, having a ramp is definitely an investment worth making. Permanent ramps can be made of concrete, wood, pavers, you name it. If you are looking for a temporary solution, search foldable ramp on Amazon or any medical device site. This ramp above was used as a temporary solution for access to a cabin.

Luxury patio furniture

Patio Furniture

Finding patio furniture that is transfer friendly can be a challenge. Outdoor furniture is notoriously low to the ground making safe transfer difficult for some. Look for furniture that looks like comparable to indoor furniture styles.

Custom cushions are a great way to make seat heights larger. There are many outlets for custom outdoor cushions online and Maegan used this trick on her own patio. We made a cushion to out under the cushions of an outdoor sofa to create a 18 inch seat height. This maintained the style of the furniture while allowing Maegan to be able to transfer onto it independently. Look for sturdy furniture and we always recommend staying away from seating with metal frames. Burns are never any fun!



In our opinion pools are the best part about being outside in the summer. There is nothing better than a refreshing dip in the water to cool off and have some fun. Pools can be a big challenge to those with disabilities. If you have a personal pool, we suggest making an investment in a pool lift or transfer area. Our goal for our projects is that our clients are able to use as much as their home as independently as possible.

It takes some creative problem solving but the results are often times a simple solution. Pool lifts are the most common way to make a pool accessible but they can be an eye sore, have mechanical issues, or still be difficult to use on your own. Our favorite pool solution is to create a transfer area where a person could wheel up to the edge of the pool and transfer onto the deck and then into the pool. We have also seem the rise of beach entry pools but remember to have a special pool chair so you don't rust your everyday chair. The beach entry can also be very difficult to push yourself out of the pool.


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