5 Best Practices For Accessible Home Exterior Design


If you have a disability or are elderly, you may find it challenging to move around outside of your home. This can be especially true if you live in an area with harsh weather conditions and limited access to transportation. You might think that the best way to improve your mobility is by improving other parts of your life: getting an accessible vehicle, hiring a personal assistant, etc. But what about making changes to your home? Is there anything you can add or change on the exterior of your home that will help make it easier for people with mobility issues? Here are five ways how (and why) adding accessible features can improve the lives of those who need them most:

Use a detectable warning surface

If you’re designing a sidewalk or other outdoor space, consider installing a detectable warning surface. A detectable warning surface is designed to alert people with visual impairments, hearing impairments and mobility impairments by providing them with information about the environment around them. For example:

  • A very light colored material will reflect light better than dark materials do. This helps people with low vision see where they are going better because there is more contrast between objects in their path and their surroundings (like pavement).
  • An uneven texture on the ground can help someone who has difficulty walking detect when they have reached an obstacle like uneven terrain or steps before they trip over it if they have limited mobility due to severe arthritis or another condition that affects their ability to walk without assistance from others nearby who can help get them back up again if needed quickly after tripping over something unexpected like these types of obstacles found outside homes all around us every day!

Install an entry and exit door with no threshold

  • Install an entry and exit door with no threshold.
  • Thresholds are often a tripping hazard, especially for elderly people or people with disabilities. They can also be difficult for wheelchair users to navigate and may pose a danger for children who might fall over them when running in and out of the house. For these reasons, it’s best to install an entry door with no threshold (or one that is as low as possible) and an exit door with no threshold or one that is as low as possible.

Place accessible exterior lighting

Lights are an important part of any home, but they can be especially useful for people with limited mobility.

  • Low-to-the ground light fixtures can make it easier to see your path at night and avoid tripping over objects in your yard.
  • Lights that are visible from a distance make it easy to navigate your yard at night without having to rely on a cane or other mobility device, particularly if you have poor vision and require additional help reaching them. This is also helpful because some people may not have full use of their hands; placing lights closer together allows them more options when choosing where they want their lighting placed throughout the exterior space.
  • Easily accessible switches allow homeowners who use wheelchairs or walkers access without asking another person for help every time they need something turned on or off outside–and this goes double if those individuals live alone!

Provide an accessible walkway

One of the most important things to consider when designing a home with accessibility in mind is having an accessible walkway. The walkway should be at least 60 inches wide, with a smooth, slip-resistant surface and free of obstructions such as low shrubs or tree branches that could cause tripping hazards.

Make the home safe for children and elderly people

The family room is a great place to start when you’re making your home accessible for children and elderly people. The following tips can help you make sure that everyone in your family has access to this space:

  • Use a railing on the stairs. A handrail along one side of the staircase is ideal because it provides support without getting in the way of people who use wheelchairs or walkers, who might need both hands free as they navigate their way up or down stairs.
  • Install handrails on decks and patios as well as inside homes (especially if they’re high off ground level). Handrails are especially important for elderly guests who may not be able to climb steps easily; these individuals should always have an option other than climbing onto furniture or jumping over railings if they want access to something outside their living spaces!

It’s important to design your home in a way that makes it accessible.

It’s important to design your home in a way that makes it accessible. If you want to make sure that your loved ones can get around safely, these are the best practices for you:

  • Make sure that all doors are wide enough for wheelchairs to pass through and have smooth, level thresholds.
  • Install grab bars in high-traffic areas like bathrooms and kitchens, as well as anywhere else where someone may need help getting up or over something (such as stairs).
  • Consider installing ramps if there are steps leading up to your front door or porch area so everyone can enter easily from the street level without having to climb stairs first!


The exterior of your home is one of the first things people see when they come to visit. It’s important that it reflects who you are and what you value. In addition, if you have any mobility issues or other special needs, then having an accessible home exterior will help make living easier for everyone involved.

Kortney Wrinn

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